Update: Water Main Break Presents Further Challenges, One Area Remains Under Boil Advisory

by Gabe Bullard on July 13, 2011

Louisville Water Company crews have reached the broken section of a water main that burst on Monday night.

There’s an eight-foot rupture in the four-foot-wide pipe near Floyd and Warnock streets. The company will have to move an embankment and close some lanes of Eastern Parkway to make the repairs, and it could be a costly endeavor. But company spokeswoman Kelley Dearing-Smith says customers should not worry about the cost.

“An incident like this would not translate into rate increases,” she said. “We have contingency funds for emergencies like this. And our rates are set in November of each year and are based on capital operating plans for the next year, factoring in a contingency fund when something like this happens.”

Crews don’t yet know why the 80-year-old main broke, but they’re working very carefully to fix it. Another potential risk is the rupturing of more pipes as the repaired main comes back online. When the main broke, the constant pressure in the surrounding pipes was released. When that pressure is restored, those pipes could break under the renewed stress. Dearing-Smith says crews will take the necessary precautions.

“We fill our tanks very slowly so after this main, we were able to get our operations back in line,” she said. “The storage tanks fill slowly. We do an inventory of our transmission mains at that point and we watch out for critical spots. To date, we have not had any other issues that have caused us any worry.”

Water pressure has returned to normal and a boil order has been lifted for all but one part of the city–the area between Preston Highway and Poplar Level and between the Watterson and the intersection of Shelby and Goss. That advisory could be lifted tomorrow evening.

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