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Water line breaks cause boil-water advisory

A chain reaction of events Tuesday kept City of Ironton workers laboring in the hot sun and left part of the city without water.

Water filtration plant superintendent Mark White has issued a boil-water advisory for any residents who are experiencing low pressure or lack of water. The advisory will remain in effect until further notice, White said.

The problems began around 3 a.m. Tuesday when a surge protector on Clearwell No. 2 water tank malfunctioned. The malfunction caused the tank to over fill, overflowed water onto Ninth Street and increased water pressure in the aging water system.

The first 8-inch water line burst on Fifth Street and Park Avenue. No sooner than workers got that problem fixed a 10-inch water main erupted beneath the street at the intersection at Second and Vernon streets. White said it is difficult to point at one factor that caused the breaks.

Sherman Thompson Towers and the Ironton Hills was without water for a few hours Tuesday afternoon, said John McCabe, public services coordinator.

Then today, a different spot beneath Fifth and Park erupted, just a half block from the one on Tuesday.

"An old distribution system like this is fragile," White said of the more than 100-year-old system, adding that the malfunction at the tank and another equipment breakdown at the plant may have been caused by a lightning strike.

Crews with the city's water and street department worked for hours in the hot sun to get the line repaired before temporarily patching the street.

"I can't say enough about these guys," Mayor John Elam said while watching the cleanup efforts. "They have been out here in the hot sun working like dogs all day."