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UPDATE: Crews Working Around-the-Clock to Restore Water in Ashland

By: Brad Myers; WSAZ News Staff Email
By: Brad Myers; WSAZ News Staff Email
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UPDATE 1/31/14 @ 10:40 p.m.
ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Progress is being made in the ongoing effort to restore service to more than 4,000 people without water in Ashland, city leaders said Friday night.

They report the Catlettsburg storage tank, which was empty Thursday, was full by Friday. Additionally, the fire department set up a relay of more than 1,000 feet of fire hose from Boy Scout Road to boost water to the Skyline Drive tanks.

City leaders also commented on some residents' complaints that some car washes were doing "booming business" while residents are asked to conserve water.

City leaders say they can not legally force car washes to close without a city ordinance.

It also was discovered that a leak near the intersection of Winchester Avenue and 39th Street is losing about 330 gallons of water a minute. An outside contractor has been consulted to help stop that leak.

Ashland area residents may get bottled water at ACTC Oakview Road Lot, Central Park concession stand, and Summit and Cannonsburg fire departments. In Catlettsburg, bottled water is available at the senior citizen center.



UPDATE 1/31/14 @ 10:25 a.m.
ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Crews continue to work around-the-clock to restore water to more than 4,000 customers in Ashland.

City Manager Ben Bitter says line breaks continue as temperatures rise and the ground expands. Some additional minor breaks were discovered Friday morning.

Bitter is not able to say what percentage of the system has been restored or when it will be back up to 100 percent.

He says crews are giving priority to repairing lines that serve the greatest number of customers.

Bitter also said a rumor that the city would be shutting off the water is not true. He says the intent is to provide as much water as often as possible.

The water plant is filling bulk containers for residents since that water is safe and drinkable. Two other distribution sites for bottled water in Ashland are at ACTC and at Central Park. As of 3 p.m. Thursday, more than a quarter million bottles of water had been distributed.

The boil water advisory is still in place for anyone getting water from their tap.

Bitter says the water is clean when it leaves the water plant but because of the breaks its unknown if anything has contaminated the water beyond that.

Several other water distribution sites are open across the county.

They are the Boyd County Senior Center, Cannonsburg Fire Department and Summit-Ironville Fire Department.

Any person who disabledand needing water delivered to them is asked to call the Emergency Management Office at 606-739-0127.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 1/30/14 @ 10:00 p.m.
BOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Drivers lined up waiting to pull into the Summit-Ironville Volunteer Fire Department Thursday evening.

Summit resident Melissa Strader says it’s been a strain not being able to use tap water for several days.

"I just had my sister-in-law from West Virginia go through this,” Strader said. “Now we know what it's like."

That was one of three water distribution sites for residents outside of Ashland who are affected by the water outage that’s affected thousands in Boyd County, which led to a local state of emergency.

The Cannonsburg Volunteer Fire Department and the senior center next to the Boyd County Courthouse in Catlettsburg are also set up as distribution sites.

This week the cold temperatures coupled with a series of water line breaks has wreaked havoc on the county's water system.

"It's been a ripple effect because a couple places buy their water from Ashland, so they've had to shut off commercially to preserve the water we do have," Amber Holley, Deputy Director of Boyd County Emergency Management, said.

Families are limited to three gallons a day and are required to show identification at the distribution sites to confirm they’re residents of the county.

The distribution sites will reopen from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday.

Disabled people unable to get out can call Boyd County Emergency Management and have water brought to their homes. Their number is 606-739-0127.

Holley says there is no timetable for when the water situation will return to normal.

UPDATE 1/30/14 @ 4 p.m.
ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Water crews were once again working to repair several water main breaks across Ashland Thursday as thousands of residents remained without water for days now.

"Our crews are keeping up with the breaks," Ashland Engineering and Utilities Director Ryan Eastman said. "They keep happening and draining our tanks."

Ashland city officials say the biggest problem areas are still the higher elevations and those living in the rural parts of Boyd County.

"Right now, we're working around the clock, doing everything we can," Eastman said. "We're trying different ways to get water up the hill. That's our biggest hurdle. As low as we have it in our main tank, it's difficult to get the water further up the hill over Skyline (Drive) and over to Summit and Hall Ridge. So, please just be patient with us."

"We're trying alternate valve schemes and back feeding the system different directions. You may experience so water that's lower pressure than what you're used to, but that's just what we're trying to do to make sure people get water."

Thursday morning, Ashland Mayor Chuck D. Charles met with water crews to offer them encouragement. The local Chik-Fil-A brought food for the workers as a way of thanking them for their hard work.

Mayor Charles says this water crisis has frustrations on high, but he says the city is doing everything it can.

"I told somebody earlier, they were complaining about it saying 'what are you going to do?'", Mayor Charles said. "It is what it is. We have to be able to deal with it. We can't work any faster. If we had 100 more people, we couldn't do what we're doing now."

Officials say anyone living in the Ashland area can help by conserving their water use.

"Earlier we drove by and saw someone washing their car," Eastman said. "It's disheartening. Please conserve your water. Save your car washes until everyone has water. Please be considerate. Don't do these unnecessary activities, and don't take long baths because it really does keep other people from having water sooner."

The fear now is that warmer temperatures will once again lead to more water line breaks.

"This weather is wreaking havoc on us," Eastman said. "You would think it's warm, so were out of the woods. But it's the sudden temperature changes that cause the breaks."



UPDATE 1/30/14 @ 1:00 p.m.
ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Boyd County Emergency Management is declaring a local state of emergency due to widespread water outages in Ashland, Catlettsburg and other areas of Boyd County, Kentucky.

Upon approval from the state, the county will then receive additional help from the National Guard to distribute water throughout the county.

Boyd County residents can receive free bottled water starting at 4 p.m. Thursday at the Cannonsburg Fire Department, Summit Fire Department, and the Boyd County Senior Center next to the Boyd County Courthouse.

You must provide proof of residency that you live in Boyd County to receive free water, and a family is limited to three gallons per day..

Folks who are disabled and are unable to get to a distribution sites are asked to call 606-739-0127.

The sites will be open from 10am till 10 pm.

Ashland city officials had hoped to have water service restored to the entire area by Wednesday. However, they say several setbacks have increased the estimated number of customers without water to about 7,000.

Crews have now shut off water supplies to the city's wholesale districts like Flatwoods and Cannonsburg, which receive their water from Ashland. It's now a race against time because those towns do not produce their own water. Officials say that means those towns only have whatever is left in their tanks and could possibly run out of water.

The entire Ashland area is still under a boil water advisory. Officials say that will likely be kept in place for at least the next few days.



UPDATE 1/29/14 @ 6:30 p.m.
ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A long line of cars pulled into Ashland's Central Park on Wednesday as thousands of residents headed out in search of water.

"You're so used to having water on a everyday basis, you never think about not having it," Ashland resident Will McFann said. "Then when it's taken away from you, it's like a big reality check."

McFann and his family are stocking up on bottled water after having a bit of bad luck.

"Our water got turned back on last night, thank God," McFann said, "but it froze up as soon as it came back on."

Ashland city officials had hoped to have water service restored to the entire area by Wednesday. However, they say several setbacks have increased the estimated number of customers without water to about 7,000.

"There's a lot of people that are out of water out in the county and higher areas," Ashland Engineering and Utilities Director Ryan Eastwood said. "It's extremely frustrating. I can't imagine being without water for that long. I just wake up in the middle of the night trying to find alternate solutions."

It's that outside-the-box thinking that led officials to call for help from the fire department.

"I have engineering techs with our water distribution operators to find valves and fire hydrants that we're going to hook up a fire pumper truck from one fire hydrant to another, just to get pressure to the pump station that will pump up the hill," Eastwood said.

However, as of Wednesday evening, crews say that plan failed because they could not get enough pressure back to the pumping station, which would have helped refill the city's water tanks.

Crews have now shut off water supplies to the city's wholesale districts like Flatwoods and Cannonsburg, which receive their water from Ashland. It's now a race against time because those towns do not produce their own water. Officials say that means those towns only have whatever is left in their tanks and could possibly run out of water.

The entire Ashland area is still under a boil water advisory. Officials say that will likely be kept in place for at least the next few days. They also tell WSAZ.com if the water issues continue, they will likely hand out bottled water once again Thursday.



UPDATE 1/28/14 @ 5:30 p.m.
ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- The City of Ashland estimates 4,000 to 5,000 customers are still without water as of Tuesday evening. The biggest issue, according to officials, is a water main break at the corner of Carter Avenue and 25th Street.

"The water main break occurred at 7:30 Monday night, and emptied our tanks," City of Ashland Director of Engineering and Utilities Ryan Eastwood said.

Officials say the break drained the city's water storage tanks leaving just several feet of water inside.

"I've never seen the tank empty that far in the five years I've been here," Eastwood said. "It's probably the biggest water crisis we've had since I've been here."

The cold temperatures are being blamed for causing lines throughout the area to break. However, the arctic weather is also keeping crews from drawing in new water to restore the city's supply.

"With water conditions in the river, we're only able to produce about 80% of our normal capacity," Eastwood said. "The water plant can't keep up with demand."

Hundreds of Ashland residents lined up at water distribution sites in Ashland Tuesday as families stocked up until their water service returns.

"I thought my pipes had froze up is the first thing I thought," Westwood resident Scott Hill said. "It changes everything you do. You go from cooking dinner to having to go out and go somewhere and buy dinner. It changes a lot when you don't have any water."

The city of Ashland will once again have water distribution sites at Central Park and at Ashland Community & Technical College's Oakview Road parking lot. They will be open Wednesday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Crews continue to work to repair the issues, but say it could be Wednesday before everyone's service is restored. The boil water advisory continues for everyone in the Ashland area.

Officials are asking everyone in the area to conserve water, once your service is restored. That will allow the tanks to refill more quickly.

Customers in Ashland, Catlettsburg, Westwood and parts of Summit have no water, or are under a boil water advisory. Also due to the break, a boil water advisory has now been issued for Wurtland, Flatwoods and the entire Cannonsburg Water District.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 1/28/14 @ 10:15 a.m.
ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- It could be Wednesday before water service is restored to residents in Boyd County after a water main break in Ashland Monday evening.

The break happened Monday night in the 2500-block of Carter Avenue.

Ryan Eastwood, the Director of Engineering and Utilities in Ashland, tells WSAZ.com that the break drained the tanks down to two feet. They are hoping to get the tanks back up to 20 feet.

Customers in Ashland, Catlettsburg, Westwood and parts of Summit have no water, or are under a boil water advisory.

Eastwood tells WSAZ.com that most of the downtown Ashland area has water right now, but there are still 4000-7000 customers without water.

Eastwood says trying to recover this time of year. He says the water plant can't keep up with demand because water conditions on the river only allow them to produce 80% of normal capacity.

When the water is turned back on for customers, Eastwood says it will be a slow trickle as the tanks build up.

To assist residents with the situation, free water distribution locations have been set at several locations across the city.

Customers who have their own containers can fill them at the Water Plant located at 4042 Winchester Avenue.

Bottled water is available at the Central Park concession stand, and ACTC’s College Drive Campus.

Also due to the break, a boil water advisory has now been issued for Wurtland, Flatwoods and the entire Cannonsburg Water District.

We have a crew on the scene.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 1/28/14 @ 7 a.m.
ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A major water main break in Ashland has left thousands without water or under a boil water advisory in Ashland, Catlettsburg, Westwood and parts of Summit, Ky.

The break occurred Monday night in the 2500 block of Carter Avenue in Ashland.

According to a news release, it will be Tuesday afternoon or evening before service is restored to an estimated 5,000 customers.

Those who do have water in the affected areas are advised to boil their water until further notice. That number of customers is estimated at 14,000.

To assist residents with the situation, free water distribution locations have been set at several locations across the city.

Starting at 7 a.m., customers who have their own containers can fill them at the Water Plant located at 4042 Winchester Avenue.

Starting at 8 a.m., bottled water is available at the Central Park concession stand, and ACTC’s College Drive Campus.

Also due to the break, a boil water advisory has now been issued for the entire Cannonsburg Water District.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 1/27/14 @ 11 p.m.
ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A major water main break has left about 5,000 people without water in Ashland, Catlettsburg, Westwood and parts of Summit, Ky., according to a news release from the city of Ashland.

The break occurred Monday night in the 2500 block of Carter Avenue in Ashland, Boyd County 911 dispatchers said.

It could be several hours before before service is restored. Crews worked late Monday night and are expected back about 7 a.m. Tuesday to resume work.

According to the city of Ashland news release, system tanks have been depleted -- causing system-wide outages.

Motorists are urged to avoid the area of Carter Avenue and 25th Street, if possible, because of ice-covered roadways from the leak and extreme cold.

The following are closed as a result:

  • Home Federal Bank along Carter Avenue

  • The Boyd County Courthouse

  • Ashland-Boyd County Health Department

Those who do have water in the affected areas are advised to boil any water used for cooking, drinking or watering pets.

Officials say anyone with no water or low pressure may bring containers to the water plant to fill starting at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.


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