New Water Valve Reduced Recent Outage Area by Half
Around 100 city residents avoiding falling under a recent Boil Water Notice thanks to a newly installed water valve near the intersection of South Henry Avenue and Fifteenth Street. The new valve allowed Elkins Water Board employees to reduce the area affected by the outage and subsequent Boil Water Notice by about 50 percent.
The valve installed at South Henry and Fifteenth is one of five that Wes Lambert, the city’s chief water operator, decided to install throughout South Elkins after 2021 saw nearly three dozen water outages in that part of the city. Although many factors contribute to the frequency of water-main breaks in that area—old pipes, inherently soft soils, and further soil destabilization resulting from the 2021 sewer/stormwater separation project—one reason the resulting outages were often so widespread is the relatively small number of functioning valves in that part of the city’s water system.
To address this problem of needlessly widespread water outages, Lambert ordered the installation of five new valves in key locations throughout South Elkins during early 2022. These new valves, which can cost as much as $15,000 apiece, were purchased using the city’s ARPA funds. Two of these have been installed so far, including the one at South Henry and Fifteenth.
Lambert is pleased that one of the new valves has already shown its value.
“Ideally, we wouldn’t have any more water-main breaks, but unfortunately that’s unavoidable,” he says. “In the meantime, I’m excited we are already seeing a reduction in how many people are affected by a break because of this new valve.”
Reducing the number of water-main breaks will require widespread replacement of the failing lines, a project that will likely take the better part of a decade and cost tens of millions of dollars. As a first step in that direction, council also dedicated a share of the city’s ARPA funds allotment to retaining an engineering firm to formulate a plan for this work. Read more about council’s prioritization of ARPA funds for infrastructure projects here: www.cityofelkinswv.com/council-focuses-on-infrastructure-for-arpa-funds.
To receive notifications of water outages (usually at least one hour in advance, barring emergencies), Boil Water Notices, and other important information, subscribe to emergency text alerts here: www.cityofelkinswv.com/emergency-text-notifications.
Map below shows actual area of recent Boil Water Notice (in yellow) and the area that would have been included, if not for the new valve (in blue).