Ironton water line repaired: Major break took 12 hours to fix

Published 10:48 am Monday, January 12, 2015

With temperatures in the low 20s most people wouldn’t think of jumping in a watery hole, but that’s exactly what seven Ironton city employees were subjected to for 12 hours on Saturday to repair a major water line break on Fifth and Washington streets.

“It’s been a long day,” Rich Blankenship, Ironton mayor, said. “Workers would jump in the hole to fix it and it would crack again. They all worked really hard and did all they could do as fast as they could.”

The 100-year-old 8-inch pipe, which burst just after 6 a.m., was repaired live, meaning the high-pressure flow was not shut off. Street crews dug up part of the asphalt and found three holes in the line.

“There were no shut-off valves in the area,” Blankenship said. “Our pumps wouldn’t keep up with the water. This is the first time in my seven years as mayor I have seen a water break that required two 6-inch pumps.”

To rectify that situation, Blankenship said he requested the use of a pump from the city of Ashland’s public works department. Two houses in the area of the Briggs Lawrence County Library were without water and many more residents experienced low water pressure until the repair was complete around 7 p.m.

A boil water advisory had not been issued as of press time today.