Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 10, 2014

Empty tank leaves some Catlettsburg residents without water

Lana Bellamy
The Independent

CATLETTSBURG — Some residents are left completely without water, while a lucky few are still supplied with a trickle in Catlettsburg after a main water line break nearly emptied the city’s storage tank, Director of Engineering and Utilities Ryan Eastwood said.

The source of the leak was initially a mystery to plant employees Thursday evening when Eastwood said they noticed water levels plummeting. He ordered distribution workers to labor into overtime to find the source of the water line break, which took them all night.

“We spent all evening until dark looking for the cause and couldn’t find it,” he said. “Our 1,000-gallon tank was empty by the morning. By daylight we found it was flowing into the creek along Mayo Trail, and was able to turn it off and isolate it and get it fixed during the day yesterday, but, in meantime, the tanks were empty.”

He said they usually find water line breaks when people call the plant with reports of water spilling into roads or by virtue of some other visual representation. Because it was either unseen or just unreported, Eastwood said it was difficult to find the source of the break.

Midday Friday, the 27-foot tank was only refilled to the 1-foot mark.

Eastwood said with certainty the break was caused by the drastic temperature change that has plagued the region the past few days, which has also led to several other water line breaks Boyd and Greenup counties.

The entire Catlettsburg area is currently under a boil water advisory as the tank refills. When waters are at low levels like this, Eastwood said the water is especially susceptible to contamination.

He estimates the advisory lasting until late Saturday, and urges residents to strictly conserve water to help the storage tank recover.

“The tank doesn’t have to get completely full, but as long as people have zero pressure in certain areas, there is potential for contaminates to enter the line,” he said.

They will have to take a sample of the water to test for harmful bacteria and chemicals once water reaches the appropriate level, a process that can take up to 18 hours to receive results.

Eastwood is asking customers for patience with the water plant.

“Please, be patient with us. Our crews have been out on overtime almost continuously,” he said. “They’re running pretty ragged working their tail ends off.”

LANA BELLAMY can be reached at lbellamy@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.