HAZARD— City of Hazard water system personnel nearly had yet another major water issue on their hands Friday morning; however, were able to remedy the apparently simple problem before lunch.
Hazard Fire Chief Sam Stacy said the water plant had not been taking in near as much water recently as it usually does.
“We had got to where we were barely getting water into the plant,” he said.
Stacy explained that since the last few days and nights had brought with them increasingly cold temperatures, dropping below zero many nights, ice had begun to form in spots on top of the river.
“When the intake is drawing water in it sucks water and whatever’s on there down,” he said, explaining that the ice on top of the river had been sucked down, getting caught on the screen covering the intake pipe, and clogging the intake.
Stacy said once officials realized what the problem was, it was resolved almost immediately, and caused no outages or issues with the water throughout the city and county.
“Actually, our storage (tanks) is looking decent. We’ve got no intentions of closing off anymore lines for anybody out in the county or anybody out in the system,” he said. “If things continue like it is we should be in good shape, we just need people to continue to conserve water.”
A press release from the City of Hazard on Thursday explained that water should never be run continuously during periods of cold weather, and described the appropriate amount of water that should be run from a faucet during times when temperatures are well below freezing and no other water is being used in the house—usually at night.
According to the release, a slow, steady, continuous drip from a faucet will keep the average homeowner’s exposed pipes from freezing, and also drains around three gallons of water from the system per hour. In contrast, a pencil-sized stream of water will drain around 30 gallons of water from the system every hour.
“If every customer uses a pencil-size trickle all day long, it results in an additional use of about 6.5 million gallons of water every day, which far exceeds the water systems capacity (about 4.9 million gallons a day), and certainly removes any chance of restoring service to any area, which may have lost water service because of this unnecessary use,” the release read.
The release also listed a number of ways the city plans to update and renovate the water system in the coming year, with projects projecting to cost around $4.5 million total. These improvements include replacing booster stations with variable electronic controls to better regulate water flows in areas prone to water losses, over 40 new master water meters, and new telemetry to help the city monitor and remotely control system operations.
“These improvements would be helpful today in confronting the current crisis, but they should be available to help avoid repetition of the problems in future years,” the release read.