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Elkins official discusses water line breaks

ELKINS — The city of Elkins has had to contend with several water line breaks in recent weeks but a city official said the city is actually seeing less water leaks this year.

Elkins Operations Manager Bob Pingley said line breaks tend to happen more in the spring.

“The majority of it is old lines,” Pingley said. “When things dry up in the spring it causes ground movement and will cause lines to break.”

Pingley said the city has fixed breaks in the Third Ward turn along Harrison Avenue and on South Davis Avenue, while one of the larger breaks was on Worth Avenue.

Pingley said the 12-inch main water line break at the corner of Worth Avenue and Wilson Street in May was different from many of the other breaks. He said the cast-iron pipe was split length-wise, indicating a pressure change.

“We can’t figure out what happened,” Pingley said.

The city typically repairs the lines with in-house crews of city employees, but sometimes has to hire a contractor for assistance. Pingley said a contractor with special equipment was called to assist with the Worth Avenue break.

“There was 12-18 inches of concrete under the asphalt,” Pingley said. He said the contractor assisted the city in gaining access to the broken pipe.

Pingley said another challenging aspect of the repair was the proximity to two gas lines, one of which was a high pressure line.

Pingley said the number of line breaks has reduced since the new Elkins Water Treatment plant came online. He said the old system used pumps to pressurize the system and now the water supply is gravity fed.

“The pressure doesn’t change much now,” Pingley said. “It has made a big difference.”

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