Main break; most repairs could be completed by Wednesday - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Main break; most repairs could be completed by Wednesday

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Story by Gordon Boyd
Eyewitness News Reporter

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- A broken water main could be repaired by Wednesday; exactly a week after its rupture shut off water to more than 20,000 people on the south side of downtown Chattanooga.

"The businesses will be able to tell a huge difference as far as us getting out of the way," says Kim Dalton, external affairs manager for Tennessee American Water Company.

Relatively speaking, the damage isn't as bad as the company feared, despite appearances.

This past weekend, crews removed a 50 foot section of that 24 inch main, after uncovering a gash four feet long and about one and a half feet wide.

Figuratively, that could blow a pretty big hole in AT&T's theory that its subcontractor shook the main loose, rather than cutting into its concrete casing and the pipe itself.

Tennessee American is testing to make sure the replacement pipe can hold water. Then crews are blowing out the water and testing for bacteria.

Priority One, Dalton says, is restoring service. Then management will focus on the costs, and who's at fault for paying them.

"Our crews have been working around the clock and we've had contractors out over the weekend," she says.

"And there's been a lot of people working Saturday and Sunday."

Restaurateur Nick Kyriakidis echoes such statements, as he pats the outside brick wall leading to the wine cellar at Niko's. Last Wednesday,

cooks and servers were using squeegees to move standing water, and plugging leaks with towels.

"We're just trying to get the message that we're open," Kyriakidis says. "The disruptions of getting here have been minimal."

 Niko's doesn't have flood insurance. So Kyriakidis has struggled to get his company to pay for damages.

"Structural failure isn't likely," he says. "What is, is lots of mold and mildew, and some crumbling."

His first estimates, $4,500.

Tennessee American's meter is still running. Into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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