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Some Bellingham residents may see dirty, cloudy tap water following main break

A Bellingham Public Works Department crew fixes a water main break at the intersection of Valencia and Fraser streets in Bellingham on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017.
A Bellingham Public Works Department crew fixes a water main break at the intersection of Valencia and Fraser streets in Bellingham on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. eabell@bhamherald.com

Residents in the Roosevelt, Puget, Sunnyland or York neighborhoods could see discolored or dirty water from their taps after a water main broke Friday night.

The break near the intersection of Valencia and Fraser streets about 7:15 p.m. sent water gushing into the intersection, but it wasn’t clear how much, said Mike Olinger, superintendent of maintenance for the Bellingham Public Works Department.

Crews responded by 7:30 p.m. They isolated the problem and shut the water off by 8 p.m. on Valencia between Fraser and Iowa streets, Olinger said.

Water was restored about 8:30 a.m. Saturday, he said. Following the repair, crews flushed the water mains in the area, which can cause discolored or cloudy water from taps, according to a Public Works statement.

Residents who still see dirty water even after letting their taps run at full volume for several minutes should call Public Works’ 24-hour dispatch at 360-778-7700.

Valencia will remain closed at Fraser until Tuesday, but will still be accessible via Iowa, Olinger said. The main break undermined much of the road, he added, and will need to be repaired.

Crews also used sand and salt to get rid of ice in the area, Olinger said, but added that some areas may still be slick.

The 12-inch main was built around the 1930s, Olinger said.

“I don’t have an explanation as to why it failed other than I can pretty much guarantee it was probably age,” he said. “I just think it reached the end of its life.”

Kyle Mittan: 360-756-2803, @KyleMittan

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