LAUGHLIN — A ghost-gray steam filled the kitchen of Joan Lee’s sushi restaurant, a side effect of a boil water order issued Saturday after a water main break in the heart of her small town.
“They say boil water; we boil water,” said Lee, owner of Minato Sushi Bar and Korean BBQ. Her six-year-old restaurant is about a half-mile south of the site of the water leak near Bruce Woodbury and Casino drives.
The break happened just before 1 p.m. Saturday in the unincorporated town about 90 minutes south of Las Vegas, flooding streets and leaving Laughlin’s resort corridor without water.
“The street just exploded,” said Dawyane McKinnon, laughing. He was working at Nevada Made Marijuana when the water leak occurred. The medical marijuana dispensary is on the northwest corner of Bruce Woodbury and Casino.
Water service had been restored by Sunday morning, according to the Las Vegas Valley Water District, which operates and maintains facilities for the Big Bend Water District.
The boil water order issued Saturday remained in effect. Businesses and residents are required to boil water or use bottled water for drinking and cooking until water quality is tested. The tests are expected to happen Monday.
Lee, the restaurant owner, was taking the setback in stride. She planned to have at least two gallons of water boiling on the stove at all times until the order is lifted, she said.
Smiling and holding a pitcher of steaming water, she said, “It just takes a little more time, a little more work.”
The order applies to all people in the area bordered to the west by Thomas Edison Drive, to the east by Casino Drive, to the north by state Route 163 and to the south by Harrah’s Laughlin. The town’s population is about 7,300, according to 2010 census data.
About 60 residents in roughly 30 homes along the resort corridor were affected, said Jackie Mazzeo, executive director of the Laughlin Chamber of Commerce. She said the chamber on Saturday sent five volunteers to deliver bottled water to affected homes.
“It was handled very well,” she told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Sunday. “I’m very proud of the team.”
For tourists Linda and Larry Hatch, the boil water order has had little effect so far on their weeklong trip. The Palm Desert, California, couple arrived in Laughlin on Saturday just as the “craziest part” of the main break was unfolding, Linda Hatch said.
“We had trouble getting to the hotel because of the water,” she said. The two are staying at the Aquarius resort, across the street from the break.
Since the order was issued, Linda Hatch said, the resort has provided guests with plenty of bottled water.
“They have been so great,” she said.
A request for comment from the Aquarius was not immediately returned Sunday.
Repairs to the 12-inch-wide pipeline were done by Saturday evening, according to water district inspector Jim Corsi. On Sunday morning, the damaged pipe sat on the road near where a large chunk of Bruce Woodbury Drive was missing.
At the site, Corsi told the Review-Journal that something as small as a stone sitting underneath a water main could cause a break when compounded with the summer heat. Summertime is the district’s “busy season” for repairs, he said.
Roadwork on Bruce Woodbury is planned to begin early this week, officials said.
A number of agencies and emergency services responded to the main break Saturday, including the Clark County Office of Emergency Management, Clark County Fire Department, Metropolitan Police Department and the Laughlin town manager’s office.