COLUMBUS — The failure of one of two water mains in Humphrey left the town’s residents without water for about two hours while stopgap repairs were accomplished.

The Tuesday midday water main failure at the intersection of North Third and Main streets resulted in the collapse of the west side basement wall of RB’s Food Store and the closure of the store’s gasoline pumps.

RB’s Food Store is located at 100 N. Third St.

The pumps were closed pending removal of a large portion of the driveway area, which will be needed to fully assess the underground damage.

“When the water main broke, the underground flow of water damaged the underground excavation pits that contain the store’s gasoline fuel tanks and caused the collapse of the basement wall in the store,” said a representative of the Nebraska Fire Marshal’s fuel tank division who would not identify himself. “There is no damage to any natural gas lines resulting from the water main break.”

According to city maintenance workers, the collapse will be temporarily repaired until it’s opened again near the end of construction season as it was previously scheduled for replacement at that time.

The second water main failure at the intersection of South Fourth and Maple Streets resulted in minor damage to the adjacent city boulevard between the sidewalk and the street at that location.

“Everyone in town was without water for about two hours when the water mains broke, as I understand it,” said Humphrey Mayor Don Zavadil.

Zavadil said the City of Humphrey is currently in the midst of the first four phases of a seven-phase, $2.5 million water main and water tower replacement project.

“I think its safe to say all the water mains in town are 60-100 years old,” Zavadil said. “The water main near the store was already scheduled for replacement toward the end of the year.”

Zavadil said Humphrey’s water main, water tower replacement project is being paid for through the use of low-interest loans from the state.

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