This article has been updated.
The rupture of a 94-year-old water main near Akron Children’s Hospital and the subsequent loss of natural gas service to Dominion Energy Ohio customers in the area had work crews scrambling Saturday and into Sunday morning to fix the problems.
Early Saturday morning, water pressure built up from the 16-inch water main buckled a section of West Center Street.
As a city of Akron crew repaired the line, gas service was disrupted for about 100 Dominion customers in the area, said Stephanie Moore, senior communications specialist with the gas company.
“Crews responded to an outage earlier today and are investigating the source of water in the lines, which has impacted natural gas service,” Moore said.
The company received a call late morning about the problem and began investigating, Moore said in a phone interview Saturday night. Extra crews were sent out to work on the issue and planned to work overnight to restore service to affected customers.
Brian Lapolla, Akron Children’s Hospital vice president for facilities, planning, construction and public safety, said neither heat nor water issues affected service or patient care at the hospital, which uses city steam for heating.
Water service continued as city crews assessed and repaired the water main damage, he said.
Lapolla said, however, that some administrative buildings and sections of Ronald McDonald House of Akron on West Street lost natural gas service. But about 13 families at the Ronald McDonald House won’t have to leave, he said.
“Their family rooms are heated via electric, (so) the rooms are heated,” Lapolla said. “Some of the common areas are heated by gas.”
Lapolla said hospital employees who work in affected administrative buildings were contacted and told to work remotely on Monday. Many of the 100 to 200 employees were already working from home due to COVID-19 protocols, he said.
Akron Director of Public Service Chris Ludle said early Saturday afternoon he became aware of the water main issue in an early morning call from the hospital.
“(They) called and said it looked like there (might) be a water main break,” he said.
He arrived shortly before 8 a.m. to find water oozing from underneath the road.
“When we got there, it was just barely coming up through the ground,” he said.
Although the temperature was still below zero at the time, Ludle said he couldn’t definitively attribute the break to the frigid weather conditions.
“It didn’t freeze,” he said. “We’ve seen this in the summertime (too).”
Ludle said service at the hospital continued as efforts to fix the water main began. He said redundancies in the system often help prevent loss of service in such cases, although water pressure can be affected.
“We haven’t had any calls of people without water service,” he said.
The main was installed in 1928 at a time of rapid growth in Akron to feed commercial buildings nearby. The old AAA…
Read More: Workers repair 94-year-old water main near Akron Children’s Hospital