The main break flowing at the corner of Oak and Clay streets on Tuesday morning. | Courtesy of Louisville Water Co. Twitter

By Adrianne Kelly | WLKY

Low water pressure has been reported across Louisville after a 48-inch water main broke in the Shelby Park neighborhood.

Crews were dispatched to the break at Oak and Clay streets shortly after 8 a.m. Tuesday. In a statement, Louisville Water spokeswoman Kelley Dearing-Smith said as of noon, Louisville Water was still trying to stabilize the situation at Clay and Oak.

“To completely isolate where the break happened, Louisville Water crews must turn off a series of valves that control the flow of water,” Dearing-Smith said. “We’ve turned-off at least 15 valves in this area and are still working to turn off a few more. Until we turn off the remaining valves, customers in the downtown area, to the south and to the west may have low water pressure at their homes or businesses.”

Water company officials said the 48-inch water main released millions of gallons of water onto the roads. The pipe dates back to the 1920s or 1930s.

Dearing-Smith said water quality is fine and there is no boil water advisory. She added that those experiencing low water pressure should be back to normal this afternoon.

“First thing’s first is safety. We want to make sure everyone is accounted for. We’re very thankful there were no injuries and then we need to look at the pipe. Figure out exactly what happened and exactly what kind of damage we’re dealing with. The cleanup could take a few days. It could take a few weeks,” Dearing-Smith said.

Several vehicles were trapped, including a JCPS bus with a driver inside who had to be rescued and a passenger van with two occupants who were rescued by a swift water rescue team. Several other passengers, who were not in immediate danger, were guided to safety.

Officials said at times, the water reached as high as eight feet.

“This one, in terms of the sheer volume of water, compares to those breaks. I’m not sure about the damage. This pipe carries millions of gallons of water so when it breaks it’s massive. It’s massive,” Dearing-Smith said.

A spokesperson for Norton Healthcare downtown properties said it delayed elective surgeries out of caution.

Humana dismissed its employees after the break.

Crews are working to close valves to help stem the flow of water, which has receded significantly since crews first arrived.

The Louisville Water Company is providing updates on Twitter.

Residents impacted by the water main break can call the Red Cross at 855-891-7325.

Jefferson County Public Schools officials said there was no impact except low pressure at some schools.


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