Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

January 28, 2014

Water levels slowly rising

Pressure being restored to customers following main break

ASHLAND — Utility workers were slowly getting Ashland’s water system back to normal Tuesday after working late into Monday night to repair a major break that deprived downtown and much of South Ashland of water, Engineering and Utilities Director Ryan Eastwood said.

Water levels in the main tank that feeds the entire system were rising and restoring pressure to most affected areas. The tank level needed to rise still more to provide enough pressure to reach homes at higher elevations, Eastwood said.

If those who have service will use water conservatively, the water plant can fill the tank more quickly and get water into remaining homes, he said.

Outages were widespread because Monday night’s break in a 12-inch cast-iron main line was close to the 30-inch transmission line that carries water almost the full length of the city, Eastwood said.

The break in the century-old line drained the 3 million-gallon tank from 25 feet to two feet in an hour.

Once the break was repaired the level rose again to about 10 feet pretty quickly, and was up to 20 feet Tuesday morning. That left about 4,000 homes, mostly at higher elevations, without pressure.

Under ideal conditions, the tank is filled to around 50 to 60 feet.

Another factor that slows down water processing is the high level of dissolved oxygen in river water in the winter, Eastwood said. The oxygen affects filters at the plant and the only remedy is to backflush the filters, which means running processed water backward through them to clean them out.

Backflushing in winter uses four to six times as much water as in warmer months.

For those still without water, supplies are available at the plant; recipients will have to bring their own containers. Bottled water is being distributed at the Central Park concession stand and at the Ashland Community and Technical College College Drive campus parking lot.

There is no way to anticipate further breaks, which typically happen during significant temperature shifts, Eastwood said. Updates are available through the on-line Nixle notification service, which requires a signup, or via his department’s Facebook page, City of Ashland Kentucky Department of Engineering and Utilities.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.

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