Water main break causes rusty-colored water

Water main break at 11th Street

After at least three days of on-and-off rain, a major water line in Beaumont gave way, temporarily muddying resident’s drinking water in Old Town and surrounding areas. 

At about 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 17, city crews were called to an 8-inch water main break on 11th Street near Gladys. 

As water flowed from the ground in the right-hand, northbound lanes of 11th Street, Lester Wells and his crew were working to shut the water off and begin the four-hour process of digging up and replacing the water line. 

Wells, going on 10 years with Beaumont’s Water Utility Department, said the rain is what caused the break.

“The earth is shifting because of the water,” he said as a light rain fell Wednesday morning. “It’s been dry.”

Wells’ crew worked quickly to turn the water off and begin digging with heavy machinery, but Wells said he would not know how long the fix would take until his crew had dug up the 8-inch, cast iron main to see what the damage was.

“If it’s a hole, we can clamp it off pretty good,” he said. “But if it’s a rip, we’ll have to replace the whole section.”

Wells said residents who experience murky tap water should not be alarmed, but should be patient with city crews attempting to remedy the problem. 

“Usually when that happens, it’s either a broken main or a little disturbance in the system somewhere,” he said of the rusty-colored water in Old Town. 

A call to the city’s 311 help line yielded little information, but the dispatcher said residents should drink the water “at their own discretion” until crews have repaired the break.