Super flush breaks main

SALT LAKE CITY -- Football fans who watched the Super Bowl on television may have been responsible for bursting a water main by flushing too many toilets in tandem during halftime.

'About 15 minutes into halftime, I thought, 'If something is going to happen, it'll happen now,'' said Salt Lake City stand-by supervisor Easton Stevens.


And sure enough, a few moments later at 4:30 p.m., he was called out on a broken 16-inch water main, his football popcorn in hand.

Water authorities may never officially determine the cause of the break but Stevens said as far as he's concerned, it was caused by too many football fans rushing to use their toilets during halftime.

The high demand on the water main could have created a vacuum that imploded the pipe, said one water department worker. Or, he said, the system may have increased water pressure to feed the extra demand.

When the demand stopped at the end of the super flush, the increased pressure may not have stopped as quickly, creating a 'water hammer' that exploded the pipe, the worker said.

During the last episode of the television show M-A-S-H, the water system's highest demand times corresponded to commercial breaks, he said.


The basement of a nearby home and two small businesses were flooded by the cascading water. Several blocks were also flooded before crews were able to shut the water off.

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