Ames Water Main Break Emits Nearly 1 Million Gallons of Water

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AMES, Iowa -- A water main break dumped up to a million gallons of water in Ames’ streets Monday afternoon.

A 14-inch water main break was reported in the 1200 block of Wilson Avenue, just west of Mary Greeley Hospital, around 2 p.m. Several streets in the area were closed as crews cleaned up.

Dale Weber, utility maintenance supervisor with the city of Ames, says the break emitted nearly one million gallons of water in the area.

While crews were able to fix the break and empty the streets rather quickly, one homeowner is still dealing with the brunt of the damage inside her home.

"It was coming into the back door, the laundry, the kitchen, part of the living room, the garage,” said Marsha Osting.

The water main broke behind her home on 12th Street, between Wilson and Clark avenues.

For Osting and the city, the timing couldn't have been worse.

"It's their day off. It’s Presidents’ Day, they weren't working,” Weber said. "Sometimes it's just a temp change, ground movement. Usually real wet or real dry creates problems for us."

The city blames the extreme change in temperatures for in temperature for the break, Osting says she and her family could be left in the cold with the bill.

“A lady from the city told me to call Service Master and get them here to clean it up, and then she came back in and said the city isn't necessarily going to pay," she said.

Ames public relations officer Susan Gwiasda says the city's risk manager will look at the Osting’s situation Tuesday, but she said past water main breaks have usually fallen under the Act of God category.

“I think it's the city's responsibility,” Osting said.

The Ostings do not have flood insurance.

City officials say due to the size of the water main break, some Ames residents can expect rusty water, which is not dangerous to drink but it can stain clothes in the laundry. Run cold taps for several minutes to clear the water and avoid running hot water, which can pull rust into a home's water heater.

City officials say the extreme change in temperatures is to blame for the rupture, and Osting says she could be left in the cold with the bill.


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