Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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February 3, 2014

Ashland still battling water woes

ASHLAND — Water levels were rising in city storage tanks Monday morning and city crews were furiously working to fix the myriad line breaks that have plagued Ashland’s water system for more than a week, city manager Ben Bitter.

However, many are still without water, especially on the south and west sides of the city and in the Summit area, and Bitter pleaded for conservation.

He declined to estimate how many do not have water. The number fluctuates constantly, he said. Estimates on Sunday were that more than 3,000 customers were waterless.

Snow that blanketed the area overnight and continued Monday morning combined with cold made it difficult for workers to see the tell-tale bubbling up of water that indicates line leaks, but was not otherwise hampering repair efforts, Bitter said.

The city has temporarily shut down its bottled water distribution sites for safety reasons because of the snow, he said. They may open up later this afternoon, depending on the snow.

If temperatures remain steady there will be less likelihood of additional breaks and repair crews may make more headway. There are minor breaks across the system and two major breaks. On some of the minor breaks, work crews are isolating and shutting off water at the break because the major transmission line breaks are higher priority and require complex repair procedures.

The city is hiring more contractors and consultants to assist in fixing the breaks, Bitter said.

He called for continued conservation and suggested putting off laundry, car washing and other non-essential consumption.

The city commission will meet at 7 p.m. to discuss the water situation.

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

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