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Boil Advisory in place for East Side suburbs after 54-inch water main break closes schools, roads

9 communities affected
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Highland Road water main 1.jpg
Highland Road water main.jpg
Posted at 6:21 AM, Nov 30, 2021

RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio — A Boil Advisory is in place for several East Side suburbs on Tuesday after a 54-inch water main break unleashed water onto Highland Road in Richmond Heights, causing schools in several cities to cancel classes due to no water, according to the Cleveland Water Department.

The affected areas under a Boil Advisory include portions of Highland Heights, Richmond Heights, Lyndhurst, South Euclid, Euclid, Mayfield and Gates Mills.

The boil advisory is expected to be in place at least through Wednesday, Dec. 1.

This map shows impacted areas of the water main break on Highland Road.

The discovery

At approximately 4:19 a.m., staff at the Nottingham Water Treatment first noticed a significant drop in pressure from its second-high service pumps, which indicated a large transmission failure. Shortly after, crews responded to Highland Road near Catlin Drive where a break was discovered on the 54-inch transmission.

"I got to brush my teeth, got to take a shower and I can’t do that," resident Jonathan Kittredge said.

A Boil Advisory was issued at around 8 a.m. Crews were able to restore pressure to affected residents by 10 a.m. Tuesday.

The Cleveland Water Department said this particular water main was installed in 1957. Like highways connect to smaller roads, transmission mains move water from treatment plants and pump stations which connect to smaller distribution mains, meaning no homes or fire hydrants were directly connected to it.

The Richmond Heights Fire Chief told News 5 that while the damage is a sight to see, his team did not receive any calls pertaining to homes with water in the basement or inside.

However for Monique and James Crutchfield, the flow of water outside their house is not what they had in mind when they moved in just one week ago.

"None of that was there, this was just grass," Monique Crutchfield said.

Going forward, Crutchfield said she will need to use a detour to drop her daughter off at school each day until the road is repaired.

Richmond Heights assistant city engineer Chris Courtney told News 5 his team routinely sees breaks on this stretch of water main, especially in the winter.

"It’s very unlikely it's going to be safe to open the road with any sort of temporary repair," Courtney said.

In October 2020, this same stretch of road dealt with another water main break, activating a boil advisory and shutting off the water in some neighborhoods.

"I feel like whatever the problem is, they should get to the root and the bottom of it," resident Monique Crutchfield said.

A solution

A permanent solution to address the number of breaks to this particular transmission has been in progress for some time and designs for a major capital improvement project to renew the main are near completion. A 3,887-foot-long steel liner inside the main will be installed. The cost of the project carries an estimated price tag of $6.5 million.

Cleveland Water said public bids for the construction project are expected as early as the first quarter of 2022. Two additional phases of renewal for the main are in the planning stages.


News 5 was at the site of the water main break on Highland Road early Tuesday. In the media player below, you can see the amount of water on the streets as crews work to repair the large transmission break.

Water main break closes schools in 3 cities

The Cleveland Water Department said residents in the affected areas should not drink the water without flushing and boiling it first. The department released additional guidelines:

  • If possible, remove aerator screens and flush all taps used for drinking and cooking for at least 3 minutes. Reattach aerators. Fill a clean pot or kettle with COLD water. Bring water to a rolling boil and let it boil for at least 3 minutes. Let the water cool before using, or use bottled water. Store boiled water in a container covered with a lid and if possible in the refrigerator. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.
  • Waterborne illness may include nausea, vomiting and stomach discomfort. If you experience one or more of these symptoms and they persist, contact your doctor. People with severely compromised immune systems, infants, and some elderly people may be at increased risk. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers.
  • Cleveland Water has no evidence at this time that the water system is contaminated. The possibility, however, does exist that the water system is contaminated and is issuing this advisory as a precaution.
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Water main break on Highland Road in Richmond Heights.

Additionally, the water main break on Highland Road is on a water main not used for direct service to customers. However, the water department said it may cause additional disruptions in water quality, including discolored water and/or potentially a temporary increase in lead levels.

As a standard practice the USEPA recommends the following actions to reduce possible lead exposure in drinking water:

  • FLUSH: If water has not been used for several hours, run the tap until there is a noticeable temperature drop. Then, run water for 30 seconds to 3 minutes before using it for drinking and cooking. This helps flush water that may have contained lead that may have leached from plumbing.
  • CLEAN: Clean your faucet aerator regularly and after disruptions to water service.
  • CONSUME COLD: Use cold water for cooking, drinking, and preparing baby formula. Boiling the water will not reduce lead. Hot tap water may contain higher levels of metals than cold.

Crews from the Cleveland Water Department are on-site and making repairs. Motorists should plan on the road being closed for a while.
The water main break has closed several schools that have no water:

  • The South Euclid-Lyndhurst School District is closed due to no water.
  • Julie Billiart School in Lyndhurst is closed due to no water.
  • Gesu Elem in University Heights is closed due to no water.
  • All schools in the Richmond Heights Local District are closed due to no water.
  • Corpus Christi Academy in Lyndhurst is closed due to no water.
  • Hillcrest Meals on Week is closed due to no water.
  • St. Paschal Baylon Elementary is closed.

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