Alarms at the city water plant began going off around 1:30 a.m. Friday when the level in the water tower began falling fast. When crews arrived on the scene of the break, they found a big mess.
"It was coming up out of the street and running down, back to the north and down Frazier St., back behind the veterinarian office. It ran into a ditch back there," utility supervisor Richard Hedge said.
Upon digging down to the damaged main, they found major damage. As of Friday afternoon, Hedge was unsure of the extent.
"We're not really sure at this point how extensive the damage is," Hedge said. "We can see, at least in a spot where it blew out the line, there's about a 4-inch hole in the water main. There's a crack at least four feet back from that, but we don't how much farther back it goes."
While the damage didn't affect any other businesses or residences, it left the Monon restaurant completely shut down until service was restored Friday evening.
Owner Jerry Monnett said Friday was a tough day to have to be closed.
"It's one of our best days, and we haven't taken in a nickel today," Monett said. "I understand things happen that we can't control, but it's awful."
Hedge said the pressure on the line stayed up, so a boil order was not necessary.
"We still have enough pressure on the water main to avoid having a boil order," he said.
Having been on the scene for more than 12 hours at the time, crews from the utility department and Joe Spiker Excavating spent the afternoon searching for the extent of the damage and possible solutions.
"The only tap that comes off that comes off this section of line is the Monon, unfortunately for (Monnett)," Hedge said.
This did, however, simplify the solution. Crews were able to install a valve at the location of the break, and then cap the line south of the railroad track.
With the cap in place, they were able to charge the line again and restore service to the restaurant Friday evening.
Hedge said the bigger issue will be restoring the 10-inch main. It is one of two lines -- along with the 12-inch main across the road -- that run from the water plant to the water tower. He said having two lines helps guard against water loss for the entire city.
"At some point, we'll have to repair that section of 10-inch line, but since there's nobody else tapped on between the railroad tracks and there, we're just going to cap it off for right now. We can schedule that at a later date," he said.
Besides the obvious problems of no water service to the restaurant, the situation also brought traffic problems and hazards. State highway crews kept the highway salted and sanded, while Greencastle Public Works did the same for Frazier St.
"We immediately called the state and had them bring their crews out," Hedge said. "They came in early, early this morning and started salting that so there wouldn't be an issue."
Additionally, the work being done on the side of the road led to the closure of the southbound lane. Public Works employees directed traffic at the location as work continued.
Being on the scene for so long and dealing with cold water, an added element of the situation was the cold weather. Temperatures stayed below the freezing mark all day on Friday. Hedge said this is just part of the job.
"It seems like this is the type of weather when these things happen, the freeze-thaw. That's why we tend to have a lot of water main breaks in the spring of the year. We had some warm-up and now it's cold again," he said.
"It's a difficult situation in this type of weather, but that's what we do. That's when you earn your money," Hedge concluded.