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Many people in Billings go without water after a water main break



Billings, Montana – On Monday, workers from Billings Public Works were fixing a sizable water main that had ruptured late on Sunday night beneath the intersection of 17th Street West and Rimrock Road.

Around 10:00 p.m. on Sunday, a link between a 12-inch pipe and a 20-inch pipe burst, causing enormous amounts of water to leak underground and cutting off water to residences along Rimrock Road.

A break like this, according to Mike Dotson with Billings Public Works, is unusual.

“So, this is considered a transmission line. Anything over 12 inches is considered a transmission line,” Dotson said. “This is a pretty severe water break that we don’t have very often.”

According to Dotson, the affected homes were located from 13th Street West down Rimrock Road, “potentially to Rehberg.” Homes in that area had their water service restored within a few hours Sunday night, but Monday afternoon water service was still unavailable on 17th Street West north of Rimrock Road.

Dotson believed the water would start flowing once more by Monday night.

“So, all we are doing right now is putting a Band-Aid on it. We’re going to straight pipe it so people at least have water in the meantime. And then we’ll have to dig it back up and fix it the correct way,” he said.

To try to prevent this from happening, Billings Public Works had planned to start working in the area on Tuesday.

“That’s why we had all the locates already called in because we knew there was an issue. But we thought it was more of a service leak at first,” he said. “Obviously, it turned into something bigger.”

According to Dotson, this rupture caused the water treatment plant to lose a significant amount of water.

“I was told at least 4 million gallons,” he said. “It puts more of a strain on all the pumps and the plant. I mean, another reservoir (was) drained because that reservoir, it couldn’t keep up with this demand.”


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