Arlington Heights police and public works crews responded about 4:00 a.m. Monday August 5, 2019 to a report of a serious water main break on Wilke Road north of Palatine Road near the exit to Misión San Juan Diego Catholic church. A break to a 12-inch water main created a 30-foot plus geyser on the east side of Wilke Road north of Plymouth Drive in Arlington Heights. While the frequency of water main breaks has decreased since a water main outbreak when over 20 water main breaks occurred the last weekend in July, this morning’s geyser was unusual — as not too many water main breaks in Arlington Heights produce a geyser that rises to the height of primary power lines as happened this morning.
Water main breaks have been unusually high in frequency this summer — especially the weekend beginning Friday July 26, 2019. More than twenty water main breaks occurred in about a 3-day period. At least two breaks occurred on private shopping center property, requiring the property management to hire their own crews to repair underground water pipes, and then re-surface parking lots or driveways.
There have possibly been 50 to 60 water main breaks or more since May or June 2019 — by a rough estimated count by Cardinal News.
So far the Village of Arlington Heights has officially attributed the outbreak to a water main break that occurred near the South Arlington Heights Road water tower on Friday July 26, 2019. On Monday, July 29, 2019, Village Manager Randy Recklaus told Daily Herald reporter Bob Susnjara, “That’s a very bad place for a main break to occur, because that’s where all the water pressure for the system is kind of coming through that tank. So, in order to counteract that, we did not want to risk losing water pressure for the (entire) system, so we cycled our pumps and that created additional water pressure in our system.”
Two people in the private water service industry contacted Cardinal News. They wanted to remain anonymous, but indicated that a situation known as a water hammer or multiple water hammers likely occurred and caused multiple broken water mains. The tipsters explained the same thing — that a water hammer is a pressure surge that occurs when water is forced to stop, to start suddenly, or to change direction suddenly. A water hammer can damage pipes — even water mains. One tipster explained that he noticed the Thomas Street water tower was out of service while undergoing maintenance. He said, regarding the entire water system in Arlington Heights, it would be harder to balance subtle water flow — and to control high pressure surges — when there is only one water tower operating at a far end of town. He explained, this could be the situation that would occur when the other water tower at the other end of town at Thomas Street is not in service. He added it is hard to be certain about the cause of the water main outbreak because many factors are in play, including gravity’s general affect on water and flow, the age of pipes, dry soil causing shifts in the ground support of pipes, the balanced control of pumps and valves, and even unknown breaks and leaks which can cause unexpected or unknown pressure changes in the system.
Localized water hammers are more routine and simple to prevent. Something as simple as turning on a fire hydrant slowly can prevent a water hammer and prevent a water main break that would otherwise occur near the fire hydrant.
Also on July 29, 2019, Village Manager Randy Recklaus told Daily Herald reporter Bob Susnjara, ”The vast majority of the community was unaffected by this … They probably didn’t know anything happened.” However, Cardinal News received several inquiries about the increased number of water main breaks that people noticed across Arlington Heights. Several people asked if Cardinal News knew why Rolling Meadows and Mount Prospect public works crews were working in Arlington Heights. The out-of-town crews were called in to assist Arlington Heights crews. Many of the Arlington Heights public works crews were on shifts approaching or exceeding 24 hours.
Street collapse with water main break on Patton Avenue south of Sigwalt Street;Xsport 24-Hour Fitness water shutoff for 27 hours.
Hundreds of fitness center members were aware that the water supply to Xsport Fitness at 960 West Dundee Road was shut down on Monday, Monday night and early Tuesday morning. Private plumbing crews had to cut off Xsport’s water supply from 1:00 a.m. Monday July 29, 2019 until 4:00 a.m. Tuesday July 30, 2019 because an underground pipe break that flooded a rear lot. The private crews repaired a broken pipe that connected part of the Ridge Plaza shopping center to the Village of Arlington Heights water main. During the repair, drinking fountains, showers and toilets were unavailable for use at the 24-hour fitness center. Port-a-toilets and portable sinks were placed outside for Xsport Fitness members. The Fox & Hound sports bar and stores in-between the sports bar and Xsport Fitness were also without water. Fox & Hound was only affected for part of their lunch hour on Monday because their water service was restored before service at Xsport Fitness was restored.
The Ridge Plaza break involved a high-force water release out the bottom of an underground pipe, which caused serious erosion of the pavement base under the parking lot/driveway behind the stores. A significant amount of silt covered the damaged asphalt surface. The silt was carried to the surface by the water from the leaking pipe. The property manager said that an extensive repair of the lot and driveway would be required because of the risk of collapse under the asphalt surface.
A street collapse occurred on Patton Avenue just south of Sigwalt Street overnight Sunday/Monday. Arlington Heights crews were working overnight on Patton Avenue about the same time they were assessing the pipe break behind Xsport Fitness near the northeast corner Dundee Road and Kennicott Avenue.
Among the water main breaks that were significantly affecting traffic from the July 26-28 weekend outbreak was a break at Palatine Road and Arlington Heights Road and a break at the Brandenberry Park strip mall at Rand Road and Waterman Avenue.
Thousands of motorists passed through the intersection of Palatine Road and Arlington Heights Road and noticed a strong stream of water flowing east on the eastbound lanes of Palatine Road. Several reported to Cardinal News that the water was flowing for an extraordinarily long time. The water was actually flowing all night from about 8:30 p.m. Friday until about 11:00 a.m. Saturday when repairs were completed.
The Brandenberry Park strip mall incident near Rand Road and Waterman Avenue was the other known private property incident affected by a water main break. The break occurred near the La Zingara Trattoria restaurant.
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Arlington Heights, IL: A massive #geyser shot high over power lines along Wilke Rd near Rt.53/Rand early this morning after a large 12" water main failed:
-Village employees have all been alerted to #bolo for additional breaks
-Over 2 dozen in the last week or so@ArlingtonHtsGov pic.twitter.com/50zG1rBdtd
— Captured News (@CapturedNews) August 5, 2019
VIDEO: Multiple Water Main Breaks Arlington Heights (Video includes a private contractor working at Brandenberry Park strip mall).
Water main breaks at Oakton and Douglas and at Banbury Road and Mayfair Road in the Scarsdale neighborhood Arlington Heights.