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Worst water-main break in memory cripples KC's supply By MATT CAMPBELL, LYNN HORSLEY and CHRISTINE VENDEL - The Kansas City Star Date: 08/14/00 22:15

A water-main break thought to be the worst in Kansas City's history cut service to 150,000 people, closed businesses and forced residents to boil drinking water Monday.

Though workers restored service in a few hours, a boil-water order remained in effect Monday night from the state line to Eastern Avenue and from the Missouri River south to 63rd Street.

Officials cautioned against drinking unboiled tap water until the lines had been fully flushed of pathogens. The boil order was expected to be lifted later today.

The Kansas City Water Services Department believed it was the first such order in more than 100 years. "We've had major water-main breaks in the past, but none as severe as this," Gurnie Gunter, Water Services director, said.

Officials were still trying to determine Monday night what caused the break in the West Bottoms.

There were no reported fires or injuries in the water outage.

Shortly before 10 a.m. a 48-inch pipe near 25th and Allen streets ruptured.

An employee of Metals USA about two blocks away ran into the warehouse, shouting: "You guys better get out of here. The water's coming up pretty quick."

Water was gushing into the street, and a greenish-brown swamp rapidly filled the low-lying area.

Mindful of past floods, Charles Donnelly, Metals USA president, ordered employees to pile sandbags at doorways and activate sump pumps.

"It got a little scary," said Donnelly, adding that his business was not damaged.

Within minutes of the break, water pressure trickled to a halt all over the city's center, and the effect was immediate. It forced officials to shut down the Turkey Creek pumping station, one of the city's primary stations.

Commercial air-conditioning units dependent on water tanks fizzled out. High-rise office buildings downtown, including City Hall, were evacuated because fire sprinklers were inoperable.

A few guests at the Kansas City Marriott Country Club Plaza were caught midshower without water and had to rinse with bottled water, said Craig Johnson, hotel general manager.

The problem did not last as long as water department officials had feared. Crews isolated the break about 11:50 a.m. and gradually restored water pressure by 2 p.m.,local/3774ae48.814,.html

-- Doris (, August 15, 2000


Tuesday, August 15, 2000 Metro Networks

Boiling Water Necessary In Large Area A large portion of Kansas City remains under a boil order this morning. It affects the area between the Missouri River and 63rd and from State Line to Eastern. Public works officials say water for cooking or drinking needs to be boiled for three minutes. This comes after a 48-inch water main broke near 24th and Allen Monday morning. Service was restored within a few hours for the tens of thousands affected, but water officials say boiling is still necessary. Samples are being processed at the city's water lab.

KANSAS CITY provider=metronetworks&category=News&article=553398

-- Martin Thompson (, August 15, 2000.

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