Last modified on February 22nd, 2022 at 05:52 pm
2/22: Water Outage Extended
February 22nd, 2022 | 5:49 pm
Water outage announced here will continue through the evening due to difficulties encountered underground. Outage area now includes Tygart Valley Mall because a second line needed to be secured.
On Tuesday, starting at 10 a.m., water customers near West Central Street, Wilson Lane, and Vernon Avenue, including Mountain Memories Assisted Living, will experience a water outage.
Elkins water system employees will be terminating an abandoned section of 18-inch line near Wilson Lane, behind the Tygart Valley Mall. Water service to Elkins Middle School will not be affected.
This work is projected to be completed during business hours but may be extended as a result of conditions encountered underground.
The approximate affected area is outlined in red in the below map.
Last modified on January 29th, 2022 at 07:50 am
Update as of 1/29, 7:45 a.m.: This Boil Water Notice has been lifted. Lab testing found no contamination in the sample.
As a result of loss of pressure on a water main during repair of a leak, a Boil Water Notice has been issued for certain water customers in First and Second Ward, near Elkins Industrial Park. The earliest laboratory testing can be completed and the notice lifted is Saturday, January 29.
The area of the Boil Water Notice is bounded by the Tygart Valley River, South Davis Avenue, 15th Street, and Industrial Park Road. See map below.
Boil Water Notices are issued out of an abundance of caution because positive pressure has been lost and the possibility of contamination exists, not because contamination has been detected. The presence or absence of contamination must be confirmed by an independent lab through a testing process that requires at least 24 hours after delivery of a sample. Samples cannot be taken until the leak has been repaired and service has been restored. Samples can only be submitted during business hours. For more information about what to do under a Boil Water Notice, click here.
Notification will be sent out when the Boil Water Notice is lifted. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused and appreciate your patience during this time.
To keep up to date on these and similar announcements, please follow the following channels:
- Sign up for emergency email and text-message alerts
- Elkins City Hall Facebook page
- Elkins City Hall Twitter account
City of Elkins is responding to a break in a 12-inch transmission line near Builder’s Supply. When we shut off water to this line, customers throughout South Elkins, including Jennings Randolph Elementary School, and customers in a large section of Second Ward, including Wilson Hill and Elkins Middle School, will lose water pressure until repairs are completed.
We do not plan to shut this line down until school is dismissed. However, because of the size of the line and resulting high water pressure, there is a risk of an additional large rupture that will effectively shut off water service to the areas mentioned.
Please begin making preparations for a sudden loss of water service in these areas. (Note that map is very approximate and may not capture all areas that would be affected. If you are near the indicated zone, you should make preparations.)
There is clearly an unacceptable number of ongoing water outages and sometimes resulting Boil Water Notices.
What is going on?
One major reason is that many underground water lines in Elkins are past their end-of-life and need to be replaced.
The reason problems have spiked lately in South Elkins, however, is related to the great amount of soil disturbance that occurred as part of the sewer/stormwater separation project earlier this year. (It appears that the soil under much of South Elkins is *extremely* soft and bordering on liquid in places.)
Making things even worse are the large number of broken valves throughout our system. Valves are used to turn off the flow of water to certain sections of the system.
In a perfect world, for last night’s repair on Whiteman Avenue, we could have closed a valve that would have caused an outage for only a small number of surrounding customers.
However, because many of the smaller valves are not functioning, it is necessary to instead turn off valves on larger mains, which results in outages over a much wider area. (This is one reason why our water workers often attempt to make repairs “under pressure,” meaning without turning off the water, to avoid these outages. This means they must work with spraying water, which is obviously less practical as the weather gets colder.)
So, what is the city doing about this?
Council has dedicated a portion of ARPA funds to an engineering study and plan for the systematic replacement and upgrading of the city’s water lines. Although we won’t know exact costs of such a project until this study is complete, it will likely cost tens of millions of dollars.
Addressing this problem is a current focus of council and the Water Board and plans are being formulated to address it, however it will be a long process. It may be that the valve issue is “low hanging fruit” and could be addressed sooner than later, reducing the number of widespread outages. We are actively working to determine this.
Some Facebook commenters have wondered what would happen if there were a fire in an area experiencing an outage. Keep in mind that these outages result not from the water-main break but from turning off the water at a valve. If there were a fire and hydrants were needed in an affected area, we would simply reenergize the valve and restore service. Although this would cause the broken pipe to start leaking again, this would obviously be acceptable in the face of a need to protect life and property from fire.
Other Facebook commenters wondered why we don’t predict when repairs will be completed when there are outages. The problem is that we just don’t know. For example, especially due to the extremely brittle cast-iron pipes prevalent in South Elkins, sometimes turning the water on after one leak triggers another, which can as much as double repair times. It is just not practical to try to accurately predict repair times.
Another issue: Even if we had the tens of millions of dollars necessary to make all needed improvements in hand right now, there are and will continue to be significant inventory problems, due to both the pandemic supply-chain issues and the fact that every city in the country has ARPA funds to spend on projects like this, including huge cities with much larger projects *and* much larger ARPA disbursements that are able to basically clear the shelves of the same pipes and valves we would need.
Everyone at the city (many of whom live in South Elkins are affected themselves) is frustrated about this situation and deeply regrets the frequent inconvenience. We hope everyone understands that this is a big problem that cannot be fixed overnight but is being worked on.
Follow the below links to learn more about:
City of Elkins Water System employees will be replacing fire hydrants on the campus of Davis & Elkins College on Monday night, starting at 8 p.m. The fire hydrants being replaced are near Halliehurst and Gribble Hall.
Water will be off or low pressure for customers on the D&E campus, Patricia Avenue, Grandview Avenue, Spruce Street, Sycamore Street, and Harpertown Road.
- Livingston Avenue
- 12th St./railroad tracks
- South Gate/South Davis Ave.
- Scott Ford Road
Last modified on August 18th, 2021 at 09:02 am
- A shorthanded Water Distribution Department.
- The scheduled absence of several department employees for mandatory training early next week.
- The preference of our partners at Davis & Elkins College that water service to the campus not be interrupted during student move-in this weekend.
Elkins, W. Va., January 28, 2021: On Monday, City of Elkins contractors will kick off two major infrastructure projects. Bear Contracting will begin Phase II of the city’s sewer/stormwater separation project, and Newman Plumbing will begin replacing remote-read water meters for all city water utility customers.
The sewer/stormwater separation project is the second phase of sewer-system improvements Elkins is required to implement under a 2011 consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The goal of this project is to reduce the number of combined sewer/stormwater pipes in Elkins, so that sudden downpours are less likely to overwhelm the sewer system’s capacity and cause overflows of untreated sewage to the Tygart Valley River.
In the phase of the sewer/stormwater project commencing Monday, crews will eventually excavate sections of 15 city streets and alleys in the neighborhood west of Wimer Field to install new, dedicated stormwater lines and related infrastructure components, such as manholes and catch basins.
The first street that will be excavated is Railroad Avenue, starting where it dead ends against the south bank of the Tygart Valley River, near Kelly Foundry.
This project, which is funded by a $4.9 million bond issue, will not result in any additional increase in sewer rates. More information about this project, including a list and map of the affected streets, can be found here: www.bit.ly/Phase2Sewer.
The water-meter project will replace the remote-read meters currently in use by the city’s approximately 4,200 water customers. These water meters are five years past warranty coverage, and about 1,300 have already failed. The opportunity to replace these water meters arose when aggressive costsaving measures during the 2016 water plant construction project spared the necessary $1.5 million. As a result, this project will not result in any increase in water rates. More information about this project can be found here: www.bit.ly/ElkinsWaterMeters
The impact of the water-meter replacement project, which must be completed by September, is projected by the contractor to be minor for most customers, involving only about 15 minutes’ disruption of water service per meter. The impacts of the sewer/stormwater separation project will vary by street but can be expected to include changes to traffic and parking patterns and the presence of heavy equipment; this project is not projected to disrupt any customer’s sewer service, however.
To stay current on information about these and other projects, as well as city news and safety alerts, please follow City of Elkins on one or more of the following communication channels:
- Website: cityofelkinswv.com
- Nixle (text messages): bit.ly/ElkinsNixle
- Facebook: facebook.com/ElkinsCityHall
- Twitter: twitter.com/ElkinsCityHall
- Newsletter: cityofelkinswv.com/newsletter-signup