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Water leak repair, discovery of gas line closes Martinsburg intersection

July 16, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The busy intersection at Winchester Avenue and West King Street was quieted for several hours Tuesday when crews trying to repair a water leak discovered a natural gas service line.

City Utilities Department Director Stephen M. Knipe was unsure of the exact number of water customers affected, but he didn't believe there were many.

A steel plate was placed over the dig site Tuesday afternoon, when normal traffic flow was restored, Knipe said.

The Mountaineer Gas Co. service line was hit shortly after excavation began Tuesday morning to fix a water leak that sprang Monday at the connection point of a 2-inch line beneath Winchester Avenue and an 8-inch main line under King Street, Knipe said.

The small gas service line was hit because Mountaineer Gas Co. did not tell city officials it was buried there, said Knipe, describing the error as a "mismark."

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Martinsburg Fire Department Capt. Scott Stroop said gas company officials shut down the gas flow to repair the line, which was hit just after 8 a.m.

No evacuations were necessary.

Knipe said the cause of the water leak was "age-related," noting the city has several miles of 2-inch line that need to be replaced. The utilities department is replacing a section of 2-inch line along Church Street from Burke to King streets with a 6-inch pipe to improve pressure for fire hydrant flow, Knipe said. Knipe said he hopes to replace another section on Church Street from Burke to Race streets after the current section is replaced.

Monday's leak in the city's water system was the third problem in as many weeks. The two previous line breaks since June 30 were served by the Big Springs water filtration plant off U.S. 11 south of the city. Water from the city's Kilmer Springs plant at Baltimore and Randolph streets is distributed to customers downtown.

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