Line break leaves many without water

August 01, 2000

Line break leaves many without water


An aging valve on a 24-inch water line beneath Summit Avenue in Hagerstown broke early Tuesday, leaving some residents in a six-block area without water for more than 10 hours.

City utility department workers were testing valves along the line in advance of connecting a new 8-inch line on West Lee Street to the Summit Avenue line, Distribution Superintendent Jeff Burnett said.

One of the valves in the 300 block of Summit Avenue failed, causing the shutdown of water to about 300 homes, Burnett said. The shutdown affected homes between Howard and Baltimore streets, he said.

While water line breaks are not unusual, Burnett said the failure of the 70-year-old valve was. The valve's iron casting snapped at a joint that usually doesn't break.


"This is the first time I've seen this in 26 years" of working for the city, Burnett said.

Utility workers dug a 6-foot deep pit in the center of the road to replace the valve and make the connections between the 24-inch line and a 6-inch line. Eight valves in the area had to be shut so the repairs could be made, Burnett said.

The work was scheduled to be completed Tuesday evening.

The work was an inconvenience to Summit Avenue residents, many of whom did not know what has going on.

"It would have been better if they would tell us what's going on," said Michele Trace as she departed for work at Washington County Hospital at about 6:30 p.m.

"I couldn't shower, couldn't wash my hair," Trace said.

For Lisa Goodie, the lack of water forced her to change dinner plans.

Instead of meat loaf, her family got fast food.

"With all the rain we had this year I didn't think we would have water problems," Goodie said.

The valve break also changed meal plans at Chic's Seafood. The restaurant was without water for most of its morning hours, owner Carol Schuhly said.

The restaurant couldn't make coffee and hence couldn't serve it to several regular morning customers, Schuhly said.

Water service resumed shortly before the lunch hour but Schuhly said the restaurant started its lunch hour later than normal.

Without water, "we couldn't steam the crabs," she said.

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