ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – Two overnight water main breaks left residents sleepy and business owners angry.
“This is getting very old,” sighed Aaron Sansone, who owns the Speedy Gas and Wash Phillips 66 gas station in west St. Louis County. His customers reported seeing water shoot from under Manchester Road at Manchester Meadows, right in front of his convenience store.
“It’s frustrating to have four water main breaks in three weeks,” he recorded the dates on his phone’s calendar, as if it were part of his schedule.
“There was January 4th, in front of the Taco Bell. But, we still lost service. There was the 14th right here. On the 18th, again at Taco Bell. And, it’s the 25th right here again.”
Sansone braced to turn customers away for the second time in less than two weeks, “It’s very difficult on our business. This is tough on our customers. Our customers can’t get in to see us. They can’t get their coffees. We can’t flush the toilets. We can’t wash cars.”
Sansone said most customers won’t wash their cars in their driveways in the wintertime, so they come to Speedy. But he shut down the car wash until crews were able to find the source of the leak and fix it.
Ann Dettmer, from Missouri American Water which serves most of St. Louis County, said she understands that customers are frustrated. That is why she said the company is ready to make a major move along Manchester Road.
Dettmer explained, “We take this problem very seriously. We have a 4,200-mile system of water mains in St. Louis County. So, this became a top priority and we're working hard with MoDOT [Missouri Department of Transportation] to get this scheduled so we can replace it, and hopefully minimize this disruption in the future."
Dettmer looked across Manchester and watched westbound traffic get squeezed into some of the eastbound lanes, crawling around large trucks and men in neon visibility vests, “Right now, we want to get this taken care of as soon as possible.”
Sansone believed the plans to replace the water mains did not develop until the rash of breaks this winter. Still, he welcomed the news, even while bracing for more traffic tie-ups and water shut-downs, “I can plan around that,” he said. “I can`t plan around this.”
Crews reportedly woke sleeping residents on Miami Street near South Kingshighway in south St. Louis. A water main broke around midnight. Crews needed those residents to move their cars so they could repair the main. Water flowed onto Kingshighway for hours after sunrise.