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City lifts boil water advisory following water main break in north Minneapolis

The city issued the advisory Tuesday after the area was impacted by a large water main break the night before.

MINNEAPOLIS — Editor's note: The video above first aired on KARE 11 on Dec. 6, 2022.

Minneapolis officials announced Wednesday afternoon that a boil water advisory has been lifted for areas impacted by a large water main break earlier in the week.

The advisory was issued Tuesday morning for those impacted by the event, which occurred in north Minneapolis the night before. 

After extensive testing on water samples from throughout the area, officials said in a statement that they've determined the water is safe to use for "all activities of daily living." 

“We appreciate the patience and resilience of residents who were forced to boil their water for cooking and drinking,” said Public Works Director Margaret Anderson Kelliher in the city's statement. “Losing access to reliable drinking water can be unsettling. I am grateful for the hard work and dedication of the Public Works staff who worked to stabilize a challenging situation.”

On Tuesday, water customers in the impacted area of Third Street North from Lowry Avenue to 26th Avenue and Fourth Street North from 29th to 26th Avenue were asked to boil their water for three minutes before drinking or cooking.

The break occurred Monday night on the 2900 block of Second Street North on Dec. 5. 

Shari Huttar-Brochhausen, the owner of Dots Gray Kitchen, a commercial kitchen in the industrial area of north Minneapolis, said at the onset of the break, one of her tenants noticed the parking lot behind their property filling up with water quickly.

"That's when we saw the water gushing and the parking lot was almost full," Huttar-Brochhausen said. "You know, we didn't realize we were in a flood zone but apparently we are!"

In a press conference on Tuesday, Minneapolis public works officials said a break in the 36-inch cast iron water main was to blame. They said they are awaiting a full investigation to figure out what exactly went wrong. 

Kelliher said the specific pipe has been in use since 1888.

"When the pressure fluctuations occur in the distribution system, there's sometimes unforeseen defects and minor weaknesses in a pipe," Anderson Kelliher said. "And that can give way after all these years of service."

In terms of proactively replacing the aging infrastructure, the public works water treatment director, Annika Bankston said that's not an easy option. Bankston said the city already is working on inspecting and rehabbing — if needed — smaller delivery lines that are aging, but main transmission lines, which usually run 24 inches or bigger, are harder to take offline.

"We have the ability to isolate various sections and direct water through different parts of the system, so developing that testing and inspection is part of our program that is ongoing," Bankston said. 

If you are experiencing yellow, brown, or rust-colored water, the city advises customers to run the cold water tap at the lowest point in their home for two to three minutes until the water turns clear. Doing laundry or using hot water should be avoided until the water runs clear. According to the city, the water is safe for drinking, cooking, and washing after that. 

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