Hundreds without water

Published 12:48 pm Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Several hundred Cawood Water District customers have been without water since Sunday due to a break in a 12-inch pipe at the district’s water plant.

Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley addressed the issue with a statement on his Facebook page, stating around 500 customers have experienced a water outage.

“It’s a substantial leak that is located in the 12-inch main outflow of the water plant,” Mosley said. “This is not an ordinary leak like we all are typically accustomed to.”

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During an interview on Tuesday, Mosley explained the issue appeared to be remedied on Monday evening, but further problems arose.

“I was up there on Monday until about 11:30 p.m.,” Mosley said. “They had difficulty getting to this 12-inch main because it was buried in several feet of concrete.”

Mosley explained workers had to use a jackhammer to get through the concrete to the pipe.

“This is a substantial, large steel pipe which comes directly out of the water plant and is the main line of distribution to the entire system,” Mosley said. “That’s why there have been so many people that have experienced outages.”

Mosley said the crew worked non-stop getting to the leak and performing the repair.

“They got it fixed around 9:30 or 10 p.m.,” Mosley said. “Because of the amount of pressure that comes through the pipe, there has to be a substantial amount of weight put on it.”

Mosley said once the leak was fixed, water was put back in the system. The pressure was ultimately too much for another section of the pipe.

“About 6 a.m. the adjoining joint blew out,” Mosley said. “That puts it back at square one. They have been working since this morning to put that back together and once again put water back into the system.”

Mosley said there is no estimate on how long the repair may take, but the system will be back up and running as soon as possible.

“They have a very dedicated work force,” Mosley said. “Those guys have worked tirelessly. I have provided county employees and equipment to assist them in getting this done as quickly as possible.”

Mosley said the county has provided gallon jugs of water to the Cawood Water District to distribute to residents who are affected by the outage. Water can be picked up at the Cawood Water District Office or at Martins Fork Lake.

Kentucky Rural Water Association has also provided assistance to Cawood Water District during this process.

This is just the latest in a long history of problems with the Cawood Water District’s system.

“Several months ago, the fiscal court voted to urge the Cawood Water District to consider a merger with the Black Mountain Utility District,” Mosley said. “They’ve not taken any action on that matter. That is a decision which is left up to that water board.”

Mosley said the county has also asked Cawood Water District to address other issues as well.

“We did ask them to address some other things, such as improving communications within the district, which they have done,” Mosley said. “There were several things that needed immediate attention which they addressed and that has helped the situation over the last four months. This particular incident is just a totally out of the norm issue. You just don’t expect this type of thing to happen.”

Mosley pointed out the fiscal court still suggests a merger.

“I complement them for addressing items we laid out,” Mosley said. “But, it was the fiscal court’s position, and it still is today, that merger would be the best option.”