Major water main break leaves Emporia without water

EMPORIA, Kan. (KSNT) – A major water main break has caused a large number of Kansas residents to be  without water Thursday morning.

The water main break was in Emporia at W 15th Ave & Prairie St causing traffic to be shut down on Prairie St. from 15th to 18th.

The outage comes as temperatures are expected to hit 100 degrees. The National Weather Service says the humidity will make it feel closer to 105.

Crews worked throughout the morning to fix the problem in the town of about 25,000 residents. They began putting in a new pipe just before 9:30 a.m. and the repairs were finished around 10:30 a.m. 

Public Works Director Frank Abart said they are beginning the slow process of rebooting the water treatment plant and slowly bringing the system back up to speed.

Abart said it is a slow process that could take 5 to 6 hours to bring the system back up to full capability.

“Something like this hasn’t happened for well over 30 years,” said Abart.

The City of Emporia is asking the public to limit water usage during this time. They are also requesting outside watering for the remainder of the day to help conserve water.

According to a person at Emporia’s Price Chopper, many, if not all grocery stores are sold out of bottled water.

Lyon County has established a point of distribution at the Lyon County Fair Grounds for bottled water.

Multiple groups and companies such as Westar Energy, Topeka’s Hyvee, Dillon’s, Red Cross, and Salvation Army brought in water Thursday morning and afternoon to the fair grounds.

Police ask anyone going to get water at the fairgrounds to enter traveling eastbound on Highway 50 and exit on the north end of the fairgrounds.

Lyon County has coordinated mutual aid for fire support and water support to maintain operations of the cooling unit at the local hospital. Support is being provided by Lyon County, Coffey County, and Shawnee County.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Management have activated the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The activation of the EOC will help agencies coordinate and get help to where help is needed and to help provide services across Emporia.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has issued a boil water advisory for Emporia and Lyon County. The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office said when the water line is restore, they must get all of the air out of the lines. The boil advisory is expected to be in place for a few days.

The water systems in Lyon and Coffey counties currently under a boil water advisory are as follows:

  • City of Admire, Lyon County
  • City of Allen, Lyon County
  • Coffey County Rural Water District 2E, Coffey County
  • City of Emporia, Lyon County
  • City of Hartford, Lyon County
  • Lyon County Rural Water District 1, Lyon County
  • Lyon County Rural Water District 2, Lyon County
  • Lyon County Rural Water District 3, Lyon County
  • Lyon County Rural Water District 4, Lyon County
  • Lyon County Rural Water District 5, Lyon County
  • City of Olpe, Lyon County
  • Park Place Communities Management, Lyon County

Newman Regional Health reports they are cancelling all non-essential staff until 10:00 a.m. All elective surgeries have been rescheduled for Friday. Mandatory Education/Competencies for nursing staff have been cancelled.

All volunteer stations at Newman Regional Health are closed.

All clinics held in the Medical Arts Building at Newman Regional Health will be closed Thursday.

Emporia State University, Flint Hills Technical College are also reported closed Thursday due to the break.

Other closings include:

  • Lyon County CourtHouse
  • Emporia Public Schools
  • Emporia Christian School Summer Daycare Program
  • Neosho Rapids, Olpe Daycare
  • Emporia Child Care (both centers)
  • Salvation Army of Lyon County office and thrift store
  • Emporia Public Library
  • Kansas Department of Children and Families
  • Hopkins Manufacturing
  • McDonald’s on 6th
  • Emporia Rec Center & Jones Aquatic Center
  • Newman Regional Health volunteer station & Internal Medicine Assoc.
  • Commercial Street Diner
  • Emporia Senior Center
  • Flint Hills Community Health Center CLOSED until 1 p.m.
  • Capitol Federal’s Emporia branch

The Kansas Department of Revenue tweeted that the Driver’s License office in Emporia is unable to process customers because of the water main break.

Emporia Police say to not call 911 about the situation.




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