Marshall Street flood repair still pending

YOUNGSTOWN — It’s been a week since millions of gallons began to pour out of one of the city’s largest waterlines, and the timeframe for fixing it remains unknown.

“It’s been one obstacle after another,” said Eugene Leson Jr., the city water department’s chief engineer.

After failing to stop water from pouring out of a 36-inch pipe on Marshall Street on the lower West Side last Wednesday, the city hired Hydra-Stop of Alsip, Ill., the next day to install a large plug to stop the water.

Hydra-Stop employees arrived Friday, but the line wasn’t plugged until Monday, Leson said. Cold weather   made it difficult to pour concrete near the broken line, among other delays, he said today.

The top of an elbow joint separated from the pipe, causing the flooding on Marshall Street behind the Youngstown Maennerchor Club building that fronts Mahoning Avenue.

The city lost considerably more than 6 million gallons of water because of the break.

City water department officials spent today trying to find a replacement elbow joint. Because an elbow joint for a 36-inch pipe, the largest pipe the city uses, is “kind of rare,” finding one proved to be a challenge, Leson said. It’s expected to arrive Wednesday, he said.

“Everyone’s got 6-, 8- and 12-inch, but [36 inches] is not the standard size,” he said.

Water department employees were searching for a potential leak when the joint broke.

But it appears the 36-inch, 90-degree elbow joint just fell off, and sustained minor damage, Leson said. But the city wants to use a new joint, he said. The one that fell off was installed in the 1950s or '60s, he said.

Marucci & Gaffney Excavating Inc., a Youngstown company, cleaned the affected pipe area and dumped gravel under it Monday and today.

The company will start installing the elbow joint and a closure piece connecting the pipe and joint as soon as the equipment arrives. It isn’t known how long the job will take, Leson said.

The cost of the repair work also isn’t known. An early price estimate, before further problems arose, was about $100,000.

“I’m concerned about the price, but I’m more concerned about repairing the pipe,” Leson said.

The line provides water to the lower West Side, the lower South Side and downtown. A drop in water pressure in those areas continued for days because of the break. But the city rerouted the water to an adjacent 30-inch pipe, Leson said.

Marshall Street between Hogue and Edwards streets, and West Avenue between Marshall Street and Mahoning Avenue will remain closed until the pipe is repaired.

West will be closed for quite some time, Leson said, because its pavement has extensive damage.

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