Water woes for businesses after main break near Lambert Airport

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CHARLACK, MO (KTVI)- --A broken water main near Lambert-St. Louis International Airport Friday shot water ten feet into the air and left water crews scrambling to make repairs. It was the second time the same main has broken in three months.

A gushing fountain of water sprayed from the twenty inch water main on Natural Bridge near Woodson Friday morning. The road was blocked to traffic and a nearby car rental agency had to move vehicles to higher ground to protect them.

Econo Lodge employees were confronted by angry guests who couldn't take a shower or use the bathrooms.

Manager Bunit Bhakta said, "We lose the money. We lose the business. And also guests not happy when this happens."

Across the street, servers at a pancake restaurant were forced to serve bottled water to customers.

At Lambert Airport, water pressure dropped at drinking fountains.

Larilee Dare noticed it while she waited for an arriving passenger, "It was obvious. I thought it was a ploy to get me to buy a bottle of water, which we did.

A Lambert spokesman says there was no fire danger at the airport. Crews moved to correct the situation themselves.  Spokesman Jeff Lea said, "We made some moves within our own infrastructure to reroute some water… better water pressure from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 during the break."

The water main is more than 50 years old.

Ann Dettmer with Missouri American Water, said, "Anytime we have a pipe that has broken with some frequency we're going to look at putting it on our list proactively and going in and replacing it. We did about 200 of those projects this year.”

Last time this happened, the manager of the Econo Lodge said it cost the business close to $1,200 in refunds. This time as many as ten guests have already asked for their money back.

Missouri American Water does have a claims department. You can contact the company 24 hours a day at 866-430-0820 or email them at infomo@amwater.com.