Russell City Council

Paul Reynolds, an engineer with Bluegrass Engineering, talks to Russell City Council during a recent meeting. CNHI Kentucky.

RUSSELL Members of the Russell City Council recently learned a little more about the current problems in the city’s water system.

Russell provides water to several other cities, including Flatwoods.

Paul Reynolds, an engineer with Bluegrass Engineering — which is in charge of the city’s new tank project — told the council he and a colleague came in with “fresh eyes” to see if they could help determine what’s going wrong.

Last month, after the new tank was put into service, the city discovered back feeding of water at a Flatwoods connection and an inability to keep enough water in the tank. Those problems, harnessed with an ongoing problem of dirty water to some customers, led to reverting to the old tank. Bluegrass Engineering promised the council in June to take immediate action which is why the two engineers came to town.

According to Reynolds, the problem with brown water has been resolved. Complicating the other issues are the mishmash of old, different-sized pipes and a system map with inaccuracies. Reynolds said there has been experimenting with water flow and keeping an eye on fills in the new tank.

He told the council that an eight-inch line to the old tank was closed off and that the new tank has been filling. Levels of 37 to 46 feet have been reached; the highest the water can reach is 51 feet.

An issue on Seaton Drive is contributing to the problems with the Flatwoods connection, which is being fed from the old tank.

“I’ve been pleased with what we’ve been learning about the system,” he said.

The state Department of Water is watching the situation, Reynolds said, and will be coming to Russell next week to take a look at the project.

The city earlier suspended a planned water line replacement project for Bellefonte Street and a proposed new water plant because of the current situation. The council voted to pay the associated bills accumulated to date.

Reynolds assured the council that the firm will be continuing to do more research to see why there is a backwash from Flatwoods when the old tank is turned off and that the city will be kept fully informed.