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Water line rupture disrupts service for hours in Shepherdstown

April 08, 2010|By DAVE McMILLION

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. -- A rupture in a water line on Princess Street may have existed for some time before it was discovered Wednesday and was dumping water down into rock below the pipe, according to the head of the town's department of public works.

Construction crews were working on a sewer line at the intersection of Princess and Washington Streets Wednesday morning and it appears they discovered the leak when they pulled up a piece of concrete, said Frank Welch.

Water service was disrupted in town after the rupture in the 10-inch water main was discovered about 9:30 a.m., officials said. Workers started repairing the line and service was restored by 2:38 p.m. Wednesday, said Mayor Jim Auxer.

Shepherdstown has dealt with a number of water line breaks in recent years. Most of the problems have involved fragile concrete and asbestos lines installed in the 1970s, and the town has worked with an engineering firm to determine which sections of lines need to be replaced, town officials have said.

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The water main that broke Wednesday was a concrete and asbestos pipe, Auxer said.

The town has been making upgrades to its water system in recent weeks, including replacing a line on Church Street, where there has been low water pressure problems over the years, officials said.

Shepherd University closed at noon Wednesday due to the water service disruption, the university announced on its Web site.

Repairs were expected to be completed to allow for the regular opening of classes this morning, the announcement said.

Last August, a 10-inch line ruptured in front of the town's water treatment plant on Princess Street, an official at the plant said.

The water line ruptured about 30 feet from where a break occurred the previous year, town officials said.

Previous line breaks included one in November 2007, when a 12-inch line along Shepherd Grade Road near the Willowdale subdivision broke, leaving town residents without water as they began getting ready for the Thanksgiving weekend.

About a year and a half before the Willowdale break, a water line ruptured on the Shepherd University campus.

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