Water shoots skyward after pipe burst in Dunwoody - CBS46 News

Water shoots skyward after pipe burst in Dunwoody

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DUNWOODY, GA (CBS46) -

The scene of a water main break in Dunwoody looked more like a winter wonderland Wednesday morning as ice accumulated on utility lines and the ground below.

The broken pipe on Tilly Mill Road near the intersection of Womack Road was first reported about 2 a.m. For several hours, water was continuously shooting into the air.

As thousands of gallons of water came back down, it quickly formed ice that made utility lines sag dangerously. Repair crews were having a difficult time trying to find the shut-off valve, so they had to get creative. A DeKalb County worker used the bucket of an excavator to prevent water from shooting into the sky and causing ice to form on the power lines above.

The water main break left students at Dunwoody Elementary School without water, sending them on road trip.

More than 900 students were bussed to nearby Dunwoody High School so they would have access to water.

Students like Cameron Peters, who are normally picked by their parents, were bussed back to the school when class ended for the day.

"Um, [it's] sort of cool and really different," said Peters.

His father, Chris Peters, told CBS Atlanta News that the school did everything right.

"They handled it rather efficiently. It seemed pretty organized," said Chris Peters.

Students will return back to class at their own elementary school on Thursday.

Tilly Mill Road remained closed between Womack Road and Tillingham Court until shortly before noon.

Burke Brennan, a DeKalb County spokesman, said a contractor is in the middle of a project to upgrade pipes and valves connected to a water pumping station in the area. He said some pipes and valves connected to the project were left exposed to the elements and although they were covered with tarps, it was not enough to prevent them from freezing and then bursting because of the below-freezing temperatures.

"I don't think anybody in the engineering phase of this project was anticipating these temperatures being so cold for so long at the time we had this cold spell. It was just too much for the valve in question so the 2-inch valve separated and that is why the water shot in the air," Brennan said.

Brennan said the county would look into what can be done to prevent something like this from happening again.

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