Freeze breaks water main
Franklin County Times
Freezing temperatures caused a water main in downtown Russellville to burst and led to the closure of a block of Jackson Avenue for nearly five hours Wednesday afternoon.
"It was an 8-inch water main underneath Jackson Avenue that broke, and we had a mess," said Doug Clement, manager of the city's water and sewer department. "It was a really old cast-iron pipe, and those tend to break. In the wintertime and summertime when the temperatures change a lot, the ground tends to make the water line move. These kind of breaks happen throughout the year but this one happened where everyone could actually see it."
Clement attributed the appearance of several leaks to a dormant wooden pipe that was discovered near the one that contained the original leak.
"We also found a 12-inch wooden water main from the 1940s that was laying in the ground next to the pipe that broke, and that's why water was coming up in so many places – it made it look like downtown was covered in water," Clement said.
The problem was first reported at noon, and the city had the block open again by 5 p.m. The leak had to be isolated by using a special listening device and drilling test holes, according to Clement.
"Downtown Russellville used to have concrete roads, and the pavement was just added on top of the concrete," Clement said. "Our first duty was to isolate the leak and get it to where we could work with it. Then we could jackhammer the pavement and drill through six inches of concrete … it was very hard on our men because their fingers and feet (stayed) wet, but we try and keep them well-equipped. I think we're one of the best because we're used to dealing with this kind of problem."