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Water main break closes Md. 68 near Williamsport

nearby residents without water

September 27, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN and DAN DEARTH | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com; dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Water flows and gushes down the road and heads into the Conococheague Creek from a water main break reported on Clear Spring Road (Md. 68) near Williamsport between Conococheague Creek and Bottom Road.
By Yvette May, Staff Photographer

WILLIAMSPORT — A water main break Thursday in the 15800 block of Md. 68 north of Williamsport has closed the road until at least Friday and has left nearby residents without water.

The cause of the break was not immediately determined, according to Erin Wolfe, spokeswoman for the City of Hagerstown, which owns the water infrastructure between Williamsport and Hagerstown.

State Highway Administration spokeswoman Heather Keels said Md. 68, also known as Clear Spring Road, will be closed between Bottom Road and the Conococheague Creek bridge until at least Friday. SHA will handle the repairs, Wolfe said.

Keels said northbound motorists are being told to take Greencastle Pike (Md. 63) to Kemps Mill Road, then turn south on Pinesburg Road to return to Clear Spring Road. Southbound motorists should turn onto Pinesburg Road and complete the detour in the opposite direction.

Kelly Powers, of 15820 Clear Spring Road, said she called to report the situation.

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“I thought it was the river overflowing,” she said. “But then I saw across the street water was gushing out everywhere.”

Powers, 25, said that as she watched, the road began to collapse in the area where the water was shooting out.

“It took a little bit of time, but it started to sink,” she said. “This is the first time I’ve seen anything happen like this.”

Kenny Hiles, who lives at 15818 Clear Spring Road, said he heard a “pop” and when he went outside to check it out, he saw water shooting out.

“It just looked like a huge water spout,” he said. “I didn't know what was going on. It’s the biggest water main break I’ve ever seen.”

Hiles, 42, said that he was worried at one point that the water might flood his house because it didn’t begin to recede until after workers arrived.

“The water came up about as high as my wall, and I was just waiting to see if it would come up any higher and I would have to evacuate the house,” he said. “I didn’t know what kind of damage it was going to be doing to my foundation.”

A State Highway Administration worker said the sunken area was not technically a sinkhole, but was caused by the rushing water.

The water flowed from the roadway, some of it making its way into Conococheague Creek.

Jay Apperson, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment, said he hadn’t heard whether chlorinated water from the break flowed into the creek.

He said that even though the chlorine concentration in the treated water was probably low, it could have an effect on aquatic life.

“We haven’t gotten any reports of fish being killed out there,” Apperson said.

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