White Hall Water Main Break Drains Tower Twice

By Jeremy Coumbes on January 22, 2020 at 7:19pm

A water main break in close proximity to rail road tracks caused havoc for city street crews to repair Sunday night.

White Hall residents are continuing to deal with a city wide boil order after a broken water main emptied the water tower completely on Sunday.

John Harbaugh, Head of the White Hall Street Department says the location of the break combined with the frigid temperatures made a tough situation that much more difficult.

Sunday night they called and said they were loosing the water tower so we had to go out and look for a leak. Well I found it on the way in. We dug it up and it took us a long time to find the leak and to get down to it. We had to hand dig the hole because it is right next to the rail road tracks.

There was a pretty good hole in the bottom of the pipe, we clamped it and got done about 9:00 am Monday. Before we could drop everyone off and head home, I could see it was leaking again.”

Harbaugh says that the leak discovered Sunday evening was just the beginning of the issue causing a continuation of the boil order, but he is hopeful the worst of the situation is behind them.

So we dug it down and there was another hole in the bottom12 inches away. It drained the whole water tower again. The tower was completely out of water both times, the whole city was. So we had to replace a section of pipe, and now that we have that done, now we are hopefully back on line. We will still be on boil order until we get cleared from pulling good water samples, hopefully tomorrow or the next day.”

Harbaugh said that the break in the line being in such close proximity to the rail road tracks slowed the repair, but that railroad officials worked with the city to make sure everyone was safe while the job was completed.

They were pretty good about it. Right now we have a broken tile in there that we have to fix, that is why it’s not filled in yet. But we have to do what the railroad wants us to do. They have to have a flagger out there to tell us when when the trains are coming. You know we had to get out of the hole when the trains went by because they would zip by pretty quick and usually vibrate everything in there so it’s a good thing we got out every time. Because every time they went by something would fall back in the hole.”

Harbaugh says that a 15′ section of water line ultimately had to be replaced to completely fix the problem. He said he and his crew plan to repair the tile and fill the hole for good tomorrow, then hopefully everything will be back to normal.

Harbaugh says that he is hopeful the boil order will be able to be lifted by the end of the week.