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Water Line Leak - Round 3 (The Saga Continues)

Water Line Leak Round 3

The Aftermath Behind Bow String Cove

(From Earlier This Week)

Water Line Leak Aftermath

Many of you probably wondered where all the potable water went from the multiple ruptures last weekend. First a bit of history. Most of Memorial Thicket resides south of an old oxbow of Buffalo Bayou, which was its course until the Army Corps of Engineers straightened out the bayou back in the 1940s or so. The northern part of the oxbow is at the guardhouse, which is why that area is the first street to flood in the neighborhood if we have very heavy rains. Generally the eastern side of the Thicket drains to the east into the old oxbow that empties into Buffalo Bayou at the eastern end of the field behind our neighborhood. The western side is drained by the old oxbow that flows behind homes on Plainwood, Last Arrow (the western side), Bow String Cove and Elk Run before running into a pipe under the western end of the field that drains into Buffalo Bayou. For the first few hours of the first break last Friday evening, the water spilled into the streets flowing north on Plainwood, and east and west on Last Arrow, all of which went into the normal storm drain inlets (some of the sediment from those hours can still be seen in the east side gutter of Plainwood). After that, the water undercut and somehow found its way to the west into an outlet behind a home at the western end of Last Arrow. That outlet drains directly into the old oxbow. The water continued spilling out of that outlet until the first repair on Saturday afternoon and again until the second repair on Sunday afternoon. As a result of ruptures, the water created a slurry of suspended clay that settled out in the oxbow behind Bow String Cove. The result can be seen in the photos above and below. Before the ruptures, the area was green with regular dirt. While it now looks like a sandy beach, it is anything but. The sediment is a slick clay that may be up to a foot deep in some places. The homeowner placed a 311 call earlier this week and a supervisor came out to look at the issue promptly. Then this morning the same crew that had repaired the ruptures came out to see about removing the sediment. But what was found was something more.

The Slick Clay Sediment Left Behind

(In some places it may be up to a foot deep)

Water Line Leak Again

As can be seen in the photo below, the water is running again, which means another rupture (at least at not the same velocity as before, but still very significant). And once again, it is depositing more sediment. The rupture happened either yesterday or early this morning.

Last Arrow Creek Flows Again

(From this Morning Behind Bow String Cove looking East towards Last Arrow)

The Current Status

What the Bow String Cove homeowner and I found out this morning from the City repair crew is:

  • When the repairs were made last weekend, 12 yards of rock were dropped into the hole to replace the clay that had been washed out.

  • The new rupture will have to be found and addressed, which will once again require some water shut-offs.

  • The storm sewer pipe must have a pretty significant break in it, which is allowing last weekend's and now this rupture's water and sediment to be routed through it. That means the storm sewer pipe must be compromised.

It appears that we have a more significant infrastructure issue besides a water main line pipe with three repaired breaks in it (and now a fourth break). To me, that piece of pipe seems compromised and suspect. In addition, the break in the storm sewer pipe needs to be found and repaired as well; otherwise that pipe might not be able to perform its primary function. And lastly, it needs to be determined if there are any underground cavities that exist from the soil being excavated by the ruptures. This is a "fluid" situation (sorry, I couldn't resist) as at this point neither we nor the City know the plan going forward to address this infrastructure issue.

A Snake Decided to Shed its Skin on our Back Fence this Week

Greg Sergesketter Director 815 Elk Run Circle


July 15, 2022


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