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.

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 water has been shut off here in Richmond Heights… and this is what the road looks like.

— Clay LePard (@ClayLePard) November 30, 2021

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.

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

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:

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:

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:

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