About 150 Crawford County residents have been without water since Friday morning, when flash flooding damaged a pipe that runs under a creek.
Crawford County Manager Pat Kelly said the pipeline break affected families that live in the western central and western southern part of the county, mainly along Avera Road. A 12-inch pipe broke where it runs under Matthews Creek. The pipe was laid about 3 or 4 feet under the creek, but the rushing waters caused by the 5 inches of rain that fell late Thursday and early Friday must have washed away the surrounding earth and ruptured the pipe, Kelly said.
“I haven’t seen anything like it since the ’94 flood,” he said.
The county has hired an engineering crew to inspect the damage today, Kelly said. If it looks like the creek will recede, the engineers will be able to repair the damaged pipe. If not, they may bypass the damaged section by boring a new pipeline under the creek.
“We’ll have them assess and then follow their lead,” Kelly said. “We’ve got to get these people some water. Cost is not an issue.”
The waterless families were offered some relief when county workers used fire hoses to connect a hydrant on the Roberta city water system to a hydrant on the damaged county water system. But that water is under a lower pressure and is not available to all the affected families.
Kelly said the county water system is eight years old. Many homes in the affected area used wells before the system was installed, so some families may be able to revert to their private water supplies.
The county government is also working on providing families with bottled drinking water and nonpotable water in “water buffalo” trailers.