Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

February 2, 2014

Water crisis continues in Ashland

Conservation a must, city manager says

ASHLAND — Ashland’s aging water infrastructure continues to be a seemingly never-ending maze of problems.

More than 3,000 customers remain without water as workers feverishly tried to find new breaks in water lines Sunday afternoon as the crisis reached its sixth day.

The city’s largest tank, Deboard, actually decreased in levels during the last 24 hours, Ashland City Manager Ben Bitter said Sunday.

The Hall Ridge tank, which was doing well on Saturday, had gone all the way to empty overnight, he said.

“We are particularly asking people to conserve any water use that isn’t necessary or being frivolously used,” Bitter said.

The frustrations of finding new line breaks has complicated the issue, he said, and the two breaks on Winchester Avenue at 39th and 43rd streets continue to be troublesome.

“We are bringing together all of our resources, looking at engineering maps and people who have been in the water business here a long time,” Bitter said. “We need to figure out how to get pressure off these pipes. If you shut down the pipes entirely, the whole system would lose water. We’re trying to do a work-around to shut off valves and isolate lines, but that has not proven successful.”

Bitter said they are also talking to outside contractors for advice they may have about reducing the pressure on the lines. “We’re waiting on that Golden Spike,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ashland water customers continue to deal with low pressure or, in some cases, no water at all.

The Deboard tank, which is the largest, puts pressure on the entire system when it is low,” Bitter said. “Because that tank is low and unable to fill to capacity, it is reducing pressure in the farther-out areas (in Boyd County).”

Workers also are dealing with the potential of a winter storm. Early estimates called for between 3 and 5 inches of snowfall overnight.

“The change in temperature is what really bothers us the most,” Bitter said. “We were nervous yesterday (Saturday) because of the change of temperature. We prefer it to stay one (temperature).”

He couldn’t give an estimate of how many were without water except to say it was more than Saturday. “Those without water know they’re without water,” he said. “We hate to see the numbers go up. As we find the leaks, we’re fixing them.”

Bitter called for help from residents in potentially spotting leaks. They can call (606) 327-2008 and leave a message or call the water plant at (606) 327-2058.

“If you see water flowing down the road, call us,” he said. “Citizens are always the best solutions. We are really trying to get ahead of the game on some of these fixes.”

Meeting tonight

Ashland Mayor Chuck Charles has called a special city commission meeting for 7 p.m. today at the city building to discuss the ongoing water issues, according to an email from Commissioner Kevin Gunderson.

Also, Bitter has called in former City Manager Steve Corbitt for assistance.


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