There appears to be a misunderstanding related to water valve replacements in the 200 block of Oak Street.
In early May, there was a small water main leak near 206 Oak St, and repair crews noted that two valves near 202 and 230 Oak St. needed to be replaced. That work was scheduled and the valves were replaced on 5/23/18. On June 21st, a larger main break occurred. Because those valves had been replaced, MWU crews were able to isolate the break when they arrived on the scene.
We have no record of a valve being left closed, causing the break, or hindering work when we arrived on scene. It should be noted that a valve being left closed in this part of our system would not cause a main break.
The water main beneath Oak St. was installed in 1928 and showed signs of exterior corrosion when it was excavated by our crews. The break appears to have been caused by the age of the main, which has been in service for 90 years, not by any direct action by Madison Water Utility crews. We plan to replace the section of main between Union St. and E Washington Ave. as part of the proposed 2019 street reconstruction project.
Unfortunately, incorrect information about the valve replacements was aired in a recent television report. The news station never contacted Madison Water Utility to ask for a response to that information, nor were we asked to verify whether it was correct. We only learned of the resident’s claim after the report aired with no opportunity to respond.
With respect to the Oak Street water main break, the City followed its normal process of informing claimants how to file a claim against the City. City Risk Management included information about how to file a proper claim against the City, what needs to be included in the claim and who it needs to be sent to. Risk Management also informed claimants that once it received their claim, Risk Management would forward their claim to the City’s insurance carrier for a liability determination. The City is not aware of any instance where Risk Management staff told any of the potential claimants that the City would be pay their damages. That determination is made by the City’s insurance carrier after an investigation of the claim(s).