Water main break nearly drains Tonka Bay water tower

County Road 19 in Tonka Bay, Minn. gushed with water after a main break nearly drained the entire water tower -- and it was on the coldest night of the winter thus far.

Residents south of the Lake Minnetonka LRT Regional Trail may be without water until 2 a.m., while a resident north of the trail confirmed water was starting to return shortly after 9 p.m.

City of Tonka Bay Public Works Superintendent Robin Bowman said this was likely a lateral break, and he said there was a break on that same line in May of 2013. The age of the infrastructure could be the reason for it -- much of it was put in during the 1970s.

The exact cause of the break is unknown, but Joe Coleman with Public Works said especially in cold weather, vibrations from vehicles on the road can cause a rupture.

Bowman expects water to be fully running to residents by 2 a.m., but digging won't begin until gas and electric lines are marked off. Like Coleman, Bowman blamed the cold, and also said the break could be attributed to the tower's proximity to Lake Minnetonka. The ice is very powerful, and the ground in the area is soft, which makes it shift quite a bit. With a big freeze like this -- or a thaw, for that matter -- breaks happen, he said. Most of the water, however, did drain into the lake, and crews will work to sand and salt the area to ensure safe travel on 19 for the morning commute.
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