Aging pipes blamed for Steamboat II water main break |

Aging pipes blamed for Steamboat II water main break

Zach Fridell

Eric Stubbs, left, carries trash bags out of Norbert Samlowski's basement Thursday while he describes the flood damage caused by a water main that broke Monday in Steamboat II.
Matt Stensland

— Officials for Steamboat II said Thursday that the subdivision's water is safe to drink and that repairs have been completed after a major break in a water line Monday evening.

Michelle Belton, office manager for the Steamboat II Metropolitan District, said a 16-foot section of pipe had at least three breakage points and was replaced by Tuesday evening.

She said the exact cause of the breaks wasn't clear.

"The pipes are 40 years old, and that's all we really know at this point," she said. "We know it's been cold, and we've had warming and freezing back and forth."

Residents in the neighborhood west of downtown Steamboat reported a drop in water pressure Monday night, and others described a "wall of water" that flowed from the break toward their homes, sending water into five, and possibly a sixth, house.

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Dave Zehner, of Precision Excavating from Hayden, said it took about 10 hours for crews to repair the break by cutting out the 16-foot section of pipe and replacing it with new pipe.

"Over time, it just deteriorates and gets weaker," he said.

The hole in the ground where the repair was made has been filled, but final repairs to the asphalt can't be completed until temperatures increase.

The damage to two of the homes was "pretty bad," said Jon Sanders, principal of Steamboat Flood Suckers.

He said one house had 2 to 3 feet of standing water in the basement and that another house had at least 6 inches of water rush through it. Several other houses had water in their garages. Sanders said repair work will take a minimum of three weeks on the worst-hit home.

Doug Baker, manager of the metropolitan district, was out of town and will not be back to the office until Monday, Belton said.

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