Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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January 6, 2014

Water main break disrupts courthouse business

Corsicana — A 10-inch water main break underneath the street at Third Avenue and 13th Street had some far-reaching consequences beyond too much water in the streets.

Water was estimated to be back on by 6 p.m. Monday.

Because the water had to be turned off, the courthouse was closed for the day.

“We would have had 400 people there with two jury pools,” explained County Judge H.M. Davenport.

Judge James Lagomarsino managed to get a jury before dismissing the pool.

“I qualified the panel and ordered they come back at 9 a.m. (Tuesday) unless the building is still closed,” Lagomarsino said.

County Court at Law Judge Amanda Putman moved her jury pool to the Corsicana Public Library.

More serious than the loss of a day of work was the threat of serious damage to the courthouse’s infrastructure. The courthouse heating system works on water, through a boiler installed in the 1950s.

“We’ve got to be able to turn the heat on or we’ll have frozen pipes,” Davenport said. “It’s unfortunate that it has to have a constant water supply. There’s enough leakage that you’re going to have some water loss and you don’t want that boiler to ever run dry or you’ll have a mini-explosion.”

On Monday, the only people who remained working were those in the county auditor’s office, which had already scheduled to have some specialized training done with some consultants from Houston. They went across the street to the county jail to use the bathrooms.

The source of the problem was an older cast-iron water main that cracked and broke under pressure from the cold weather, said Charles Liest with the city’s utilities department.

The break was discovered around 7:30 a.m., and Liest estimated the city lost about 72,000 gallons of water before the water was turned off around 9:30 am.

Water service was disrupted to about five blocks of homes and businesses while the repairs were being done.

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