UPDATE: Public Works handles six water main break sites; FHTC closes main building after separate incident Featured

City crews work on a failed 16-inch water line on 12th near Garfield on Wednesday. City crews work on a failed 16-inch water line on 12th near Garfield on Wednesday. Chuck Samples/KVOE News

Up until Tuesday, Emporia had been spared the infrastructure issues that other places in Kansas, like Topeka and Wichita, had seen with water main failures.

That changed as the day -- and night -- progressed as Public Works crews scrambled to fix six separate water main breaks and to help Flint Hills Technical College make initial repairs in another case.

On KVOE's 8:05 am newscast Wednesday, Public Works Director Frank Abart said a combination of heat, dryness and aging pipes was the likely cause.

Water mains failed across town:

*Third and Melody
*Fourth and Oak
*Sixth and Merchant
*12th and Garfield
*15th and Luther
*22nd and Hillcrest

Most of the break sites have had initial repairs done, although 22nd and Hillcrest was the last site to be called in so those repairs are ongoing at last word.

Meanwhile, damage assessment continues at the Flint Hills Technical College main campus after a water line failure either Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.

On KVOE's Morning Show Wednesday, President Dr. Dean Hollenbeck said the first indications of problems came around 3:30 am. An early investigation puts the break just outside the building, and the way it appears the situation inside could have been much worse.

Hollenbeck says there was some water that went through the east doors, but there does not appear to be much in the way of related damage.

At least part of the main building was shut down, but Hollenbeck says there are no classes to adjust and an onsite workshop with Simmons shouldn't be affected. Some sidewalk will also have to be dug up to make the needed repairs.

As the heat continues, Abart says he is concerned about his crews having extended exposure outside. The city has already contracted with one company to help with repairs and may reach out to others, depending on how things go.

Last July, there were 10 water main breaks in Emporia -- including the devastating failure near 15th and Prairie that drained nearly half the city's water supply and caused a boil water order for several days.

KVOE News will keep you updated on air and online at KVOE.com. Click here for KVOE's prior coverage this week.

Photos by KVOE News

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