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Town says water leak is somewhere on campus

June 20, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Shepherdstown officials believe the large water leak in the town's water system is somewhere on the west campus of Shepherd University, and crews were digging in the area Monday in an attempt to find it, said Town Recorder Cindy Cook.

When a section of the water system on the west campus was shut down, the town's two water tanks on W.Va. 45 began to fill up, leading town officials to believe the leak was in that area, Cook said.

The water level in the tanks was about 24 feet on Sunday, but on Monday afternoon, the level had risen to about 60 feet, Cook said.

Cook said water service was restored Monday to other areas experiencing interruptions in service, such as the Cress Creek and Mecklenburg Heights subdivisions.

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Town officials determined at about 8:30 a.m. Monday that the leak was in the west campus area, Cook said.

With that news, town officials decided it was OK for town residents to resume normal water usage, although they still are being asked to boil it for one minute before drinking it, Cook said.

Town officials were asking residents to conserve on water as much as possible. There was a fear that the large leak, combined with the town's water usage, would drain all the water out of the town's water storage tanks.

Not only would that leave the town with no water, but it would make it difficult for town workers to find the leak, Cook said.

To help residents conserve water, portable toilets were set up around town and three tanker trucks filled with drinking water were parked at the Food Lion supermarket on W.Va. 45, in front of Town Hall on King Street and at Cress Creek Golf & Country Club.

The tanker trucks will remain in place until the boil-water advisory is lifted, Cook said.

The Jefferson County Health Department has ordered restaurants in town to close until the town's water can be tested to make sure it is safe to drink, Cook said.

"We have no authority over that," Cook said.

The results of the tests might be received today, Cook said.

When the section of the water system on Shepherd's west campus was turned off, it cut water service to Shepherd buildings such as the Butcher Center, the Frank Center and dormitories, Cook said.

Some of that service was later restored, Cook said.

On Monday, town and university workers were digging down to the water line in different areas trying to find the leak.

Cook said it is hard to determine what caused the leak, adding that it could be the age of the pipes in the area. Some could be 25 to 35 years old, she said.

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