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Water main break causes low water pressure; forces businesses to close

Businesses close for several hours after contractor drilled into pipe

SAN ANTONIO – An enormous water main break on the city's North Side didn't just cause a headache for the San Antonio Water System. It also shut down businesses around the area.

Water shooting 40 feet above Olmos Basin Golf Course could be seen for miles. A contractor drilling holes to build a bridge over the creek drilled into a 30-inch pipe, sending water into the air and creating a ripple effect throughout the community. 

"We had a complete drop in pressure from our system," said Nicholas Lopez, who owns several Bubble Bath Car Wash locations across the city. 

His business on San Pedro came spinning to a stop.

"We had to shut down for almost two hours. It cost us probably about 150 cars," he said.

On a good day, the car wash serves up to 800 or 900 cars. 

Bubble Bath was on a long list of businesses swept up in the water pressure issue. Managers at large restaurants such as Pappadeaux and Cracker Barrel on Loop 410 both said they had to shut down in the middle of the day.

Eventually, SAWS got the water pressure back under control, allowing all the businesses to open again.

"They actually told us four to six hours originally so we were excited we were able to get open a little earlier," Lopez said.

Though some of his profits were washed down the drain, Lopez is glad to be back up and running. 

"We'll just keep trucking through!" he said.

A SAWS spokeswoman told KSAT the contractor did not ask for a "locate" before drilling, which is a requirement so they don't hit any pipes. Since the contractor failed, to do that the utility plans to make the contractor pay for the damages, including the lost water.


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