Water Utility Authority explains overnight gushing in NE Heights

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Drinking water gushed from a Northeast Heights hydrant all night long and for most of the morning, but the Water Utility Authority says it had to be done.

“It was just a lot of water coming down,” said Maurice Muhammad.

The water flowed into Louisiana and Montgomery for more than 12 hours.

“It was pretty intense,” another resident said.

The flood was no accident. The Water Utility Authority is doing valve replacement work on two large, underground water transmission lines. They are 24 and 36-inch lines.

“So in order to get that work done, we’ve got to drain those transmission lines, and that’s why you’re seeing water come out of those hydrants right now,” said David Morris, public affairs manager for the Water Utility Authority.

“It’s a tremendous amount of water that’s in those pipes,” he said.

Crews have to do welding to replace the two valves, so the water has to go, pretty much down to the last drop.

“Obviously, if we had a choice, we wouldn’t put all that water into the street, but if it is a critical piece of infrastructure that has to be repaired, and there’s really no way around the fact that pipe has to be empty in order to do that work,” Morris explained.

The Water Utility Authority doesn’t know how many gallons were flushed, but as they gear up to repair infrastructure in older neighborhoods, this flushing will become more common.

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