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Water woes wreak havoc on community

By Staff | Jan 19, 2018

Billy Grove, one of the Public Works crew who worked for over 24 hours, drains the water line from the hydrant

The frigid winter weather has been wreaking havoc on water pipes across the area, and downtown Shepherdstown was no exception.

A leak on the corner of Princess and Washington streets, near Jefferson Security Bank, was first detected on the afternoon of Jan. 11 when the Public Works department was dispatched to investigate the situation.

Brian Welch, one of the Public Works officials who was at the scene on Friday, said it was unclear at that time whether the freezing and thawing was a contributing factor, but that a broken valve was causing the leak. Workers had shut off much of the water on the east end of town to repair the pipe, but Welch said the repair took a little longer than anticipated because they were having some trouble getting all of the water shut off due to all the lines coming in.

Several crew members labored for over 24 hours, breaking up the street and working diligently to get the pipe repaired so that there would be as little interruption to services as possible. Generous residents made sure the crew had plenty of hot coffee and sandwiches for sustenance while working. The pipe was fixed by around 5 p.m. on Jan. 12, prompting a boil order for two days until that was lifted on Jan. 14.

Shepherdstown Public Works staff have been extremely busy as this valve break comes on the heels of many frozen and burst pipe and water meter repairs, plus a water main break at the beginning of January. Additionally, the town has also been installing a dedicated water line on High Street, with work currently being done on Route 45 near Sheetz. Water service was interrupted from Sheetz to the Shepherdstown Fire Station on Tuesday.

Director of Public Works Frank Welch said he’s really proud of his crew and grateful for their hard work and dedication to servicing the people of Shepherdstown.