Businesses still drying out from water main break - WFLA News Channel 8

Businesses still drying out from water main break


Johnson City's downtown saw heavy flooding Monday, but this time there was no rain to blame it on.

Businesses were still on clean up duty Tuesday, after construction crews hit a water line at the corner of East Main Street and State of Franklin Road the night before.

Director of Water & Sewer Services Tom Witherspoon says a contractor, who was not working for the city, lost control of a steel plate, which fell and ruptured the water line.

Getting the line fixed took several hours.

"Your downtown water system, you want to be a very robust system, for fire protection primarily," said Witherspoon, "so you want a lot of inter connects and a lot of pipes inter connected... if you have a main break, that makes it all the more challenging, and that's what we had to deal with yesterday, was that you had a lot of pipes down there, a lot of valves."

And for hours, business owners and employees did their best to protect their buildings and merchandise.

"They pumped out over 2,000 gallons out of our basement, and out of the elevator shaft," says Atlantis employee Laura Prescott.

So the question on many minds Tuesday - who will be held responsible for the damage? Witherspoon says it won't be the city.

"Well, we don't think so," said Witherspoon, "I mean, responsibility is kind of a gray area, but we weren't involved with the plate, and we weren't involved with lifting it."

Witherspoon says the contractor has assigned an investigator to check out the situation. He says anyone affected can contact the city's Risk Management office with questions.

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