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Water service restored

By Staff | Aug 28, 2009

Shepherdstown was under a declared “water emergency” from Monday afternoon to early Wednesday morning when a 10 inch water main split open around 10:45 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 23, at the Municipal Water Treatment Plant on N. Princess Street. “We knew it had broken immediately.” Said water plant superintendant Bill Myers, “it sounded like a rifle going off.”

The damaged water main forced the Corporation of Shepherdstown to declare a water emergency. Customers were notified by automated calls in the early afternoon hours of Monday, Aug 24, and a message was posted at 2:01 p.m. to the website of the Corporation of Shepherdstown advising customers to conserve water, cease non-essential water usage such as watering lawns, and warning that some water may be discolored. The water remained safe to drink, and the discoloration was only an aesthetic issue. “The water hasn’t changed,” said Myers when interviewed during the repair process, “were just not pumping any right now.”

The 10-inch water main failed near the entrance to the Water Treatment Plant, and repair crews were forced to jackhammer through the concrete staircase which leads to the front door of the facility. Once crews had reached the damaged water main, they also discovered that a backwash line had also failed and needed to be replaced. A backwash line pumps water back into the treatment plant to clean the scrubbers which treat our drinking water. It too was encased in concrete, which added to the repair time as crews jackhammered concrete away to get access to the pipe.

The 10-inch main was pumping water back into system by 8:30 p.m. on Monday night. The backwash line took a bit longer to fix. It did not come back online until around 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

At 8:17 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 26, the Corporation of Shepherdstown posted a message informing customers that the repairs had been completed, and that the tanks were being re-filled. By 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Myers said that the tanks had been filled, and that normal water service had returned.