Thousands affected by water main break in Waukesha neighborhood

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WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Waukesha residents had a messy night. A water main break affected thousands throughout the city starting around 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27.

Some 20-thousand customers went to bed Wednesday night without the ability to flush their toilets or brush their teeth. 

Crews worked tirelessly for hours and fixed the break, but a day later, lingering issues remain.

This is the Sterling Hollow neighborhood at University Drive and Chatsworth Circle. It took Tatjana Ward by surprise.

"The road to our circle was closed and I couldn't really get into my driveway," said Ward.

Ward had a late flight home from Europe and just wanted a shower.

"Found out there was no way to shower.  Took some bottled waters, luckily, that we had, to brush my teeth," she said.

Two weeks ago, a water main break on the same block left the Wards without the ability to flush their toilet or run a faucet.

"So it's been quite the adventure," said Ward.

An adventure that this time, could've been worse had it not been for an operator who spotted the problem right away.

"And he started noticing that some of the water levels in our water towers was going down a lot faster than it would normally go down," said Dan Duchniak, general manager of Waukesha Water Utility.

An estimated 6-thousand gallons a minute.

"In about 30 minutes, there was about a half a million gallons that went down the road," said Duchniak.

Crews found the break and isolated it within 35 minutes.

"It was this old pipe that was in there that we were having problems with, that we had just replaced that failed, and it failed right at the perfect spot where two larger mains came together. So you had a lot of water available to come out of that hole," said Duchniak.

Lingering problems remain. Crews spent the day flushing mains throughout Waukesha to clear up any rusty-colored water. 

They also cleared away stones that emerged with the water on Chatsworth Circle.

"I wasn't sure what it was. I didn't want to step in it. They spent all day today trying to get that gross stuff off, which I think they did a really good job," said Ward.

If you're in Waukesha and your water's still rusty-colored or your toilet flushing is extra noisy right now, officials say to open an outdoor spigot, a utility sink or your bathtub and let the water run until it's clear again.

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