01/11/2017 16:28 EST | Updated 01/12/2018 00:12 EST

Freeze and thaw caused water main break in Moncton

The cleanup continues after a water main break in Moncton's north end that forced the city to issue a precautionary boil water order Tuesday night. The order remains in effect.

A pattern of freezing and thawing in recent days led to the break, said City of Moncton spokesperson Isabelle LeBlanc.

It happened on Edgett Avenue, not far from the Moncton Hospital, in a cast-iron pipe that was under 60 years old.

The problem spread across a large section of the city because the pipe was connected to the transmission system. 

City crews have now replaced the broken section of pipe.

Water came as a surprise to residents

The  break left a muddy-looking mess in the immediate area. 

Jean-Michel Landry, who lives in a basement apartment close to the break, said the water came a little too close for comfort.

"Our driveway is the most affected unfortunately," said Landry. "But they worked at it — the city was here real quick and they worked at it real quick — and we got water back, and everything seems to be under control now."

Some water got into the basement but "nothing major, though," he said. "We have a sump pump that kicked in, of course, and thank God for that."

The water main break surprised Sunog Nguyen, who runs an Asian Restaurant on Mountain Road.

"I turn it on and the water — no," she said. "And I was surprised about that and go to the neighbour and I ask about the water and they said they have the same.

"And after I go to my business and I close, because two hours I waited ... a long time."

Five schools, almost 4,000 households

About 3,900 households and commercial properties are affected by the boil water order.

That includes five schools.

Steve LaPierre, spokesman for the Francophone South School District, said water dispensers were brought in for École Saint-Henri, and cafeteria staff were boiling water for cooking.

In the Anglophone East district, Harrison Trimble High School, Beaverbrook School, Queen Elizabeth and Birchmount all fall under the boil water order.

Stephanie Patterson, the community engagement co-ordinator for Anglophone East, said bottles of water and cups were delivered to the affected schools.

City could lift boil order soon

LeBlanc, at city hall, said the flushing of the system is now complete.

A first test sample was to be taken Wednesday and a second one in 24 hours.

If both come back negative, the Department of Health could lift the advisory.

Jean-Michel Landry said he understands why the precautionary boil order is in place and is following the guidelines.

"It's always a good idea, you know," he said. "Safety is always first and it's the forces of nature sometimes you can't control right, so you have to do what you've got to do."