The northern section of Middletown was without water for several hours Monday after an early morning water main break.

Alan Wolverton, Middletown’s interim superintendent of public works, said the town was notified at about 5 a.m. by the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office of a water main break on Pleasant View Avenue at the point of a service connection to a home from the water main.

“It was substantial,” Wolverton said.

Matters were complicated when town crews had trouble locating shut-off valves at the connection because the Virginia Department of Transportation had inadvertently covered them when the street had been paved.

Middletown asked Winchester for help using its equipment to locate valves in an attempt to shut off the water as close as possible to the break.

Crews and town officials had wanted to minimize the disruption of service to residents and businesses but had to decide to turn off the water at the town main, resulting in water pressure loss from McDonald’s on Reliance Road to about the area of the Middletown Police Department on Main Street, Wolverton said.

He was not sure of the number of residents whose water supply was disrupted.

“It was a last resort to turn off at the town main. We tried everything,” Wolverton said.

The town kept low pressure on the line, known as a positive force, during the break to try to keep contaminant, such as mud and bacteria, out of the water line. Wolverton said that by the time it reached people’s homes, though, they probably did not have any water pressure.

The break was fixed and water was back on by early afternoon. Town crews and officials continued to monitor the quality of the water in the hours following, he said.

Wolverton said residents might have rusty water until they run the water until it is clear.

It appeared the initial break that caused the problem was the result of metal fatigue.

“I can’t be sure how long the piece of metal had been there, but it appears it’s been there since the ’70s,” Wolverton said.