Crews race to fix water main break in North Idaho


A massive water main break in Pinehurst, Idaho is putting hundreds of people at risk and about to be out of water. The break is 10 feet under the Coeur d'Alene river. Firefighters tell us they are worried all the towns south of Kellogg, all the way to Osburn could be out Thursday morning. This not only means homes will be out of water for drinking and showering, but fire hydrants will also be dry. Crews have been working through the night to repair the break and hope to have a new pipe installed by midday. Authorities are asking people in those towns to conserve water as much as possible. We will bring you updates throughout the morning and will update this story as soon as we get more information. 


The Central Shoshone County Water District reports a water main break between Pinehurst and Osburn could affect several communities in Idaho Wednesday night and into Thursday morning. The water district says they will be working throughout Wednesday night to repair a break that is 10 feet under the Coeur d'Alene River.

Due to the break, water has been shut off from Page Road in Smelterville all the way to Osburn, Idaho. People in those affected communities could soon be without water and the water district is asking everyone to conserve water and use it sparingly. The water district is currently using a reserve tank for water. But that water supply is limited and could run out Wednesday night.

The water district says the main concern Wednesday is fire protection, as fire hydrants are also connected to the reserve water tanks. Firefighters say their tenders are full Wednesday, and they expect to have enough for a normal night of work.If the water does run out, crews say they have a way to re-fill without turning the water back on, but it will take longer.

"Our main concern is fire protection," said Chad Nelson with the Central Shoshone County Water District. "We can buy bottled water to drink, but if there's a fire we may not have the capability of putting it out. Fire districts are pulling from neighboring districts. Fire protection is our main concern at the moment." 

The 24-inch main is a trunk line that supplies water from Enaville, Idaho, to the east end of Osburn. The main eroded and broke Tuesday night and the water district has been working since then to get it fixed. They say the 500,000 gallon reserve tank has approximately 8 hours worth of storage left.

"We're trying to hurry as fast as we can to install some new pipe," said  Nelson.

Nelson says residents in the affected area should try their best to conserve water, and have bottled water on hand.

"What happens in situations like this is everyone starts to panic and fill up bath tubs trying to prepare," Nelson said, "What that does is actually pulls more out of the tanks."

The water district will work throughout the night to get the main repaired. They say it will take most of the day Thursday to replenish the reserve tanks. 

Wednesday night, Kellogg Joint School District 391 announced classes would be cancelled Thursday due to the break.

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