Now that a boil water advisory has been lifted for most customers, Owensboro Municipal Utilities is working to fortify the pipes that burst on Monday.
About 100,000 residents of Owensboro and Daviess County had little to no water before service was restored on Wednesday.
OMU Spokeswoman Sonya Dixon says it’s believed that a cast-iron pipe more than 100 years old ruptured and caused another pipe to leak.
"One of the pipes was cast-iron. We think, perhaps, when it broke or cracked, it undermined another pipe in the area, and that was ductile iron," explained Dixon. "That was a newer main, but it did compromise that main when the older one broke."
The water main breaks occurred outside OMU’s water treatment plant on Fourth Street known as Plant-A. Plans are underway to close the facility and replace its aging infrastructure. That’s expected to occur in about two years when the newer Cavin Water Treatment Plant is expanded from a ten million to a 30 million gallon capacity. The newer facility couldn’t meet the demand for water following the leaks this week.
Updated Thursday at 5:15 a.m.:
A boil water advisory has been lifted for the vast majority of Owensboro Municipal Utilities customers impacted by Monday’s water main breaks.
The Kentucky Division of Water authorized the lifting of the boil water advisory Wednesday night for all but 300 OMU customers.
A map at OMU’s website shows the town of Whitesville and customers across from the watertreatment plant where the breaks occurred are still under the advisory.
Approximately 100,000 customers had been without normal water service while the utility fixed the broken mains and waited for regulators to determine that the water for once again safe for drinking and cooking.
Update 6:05 a.m. Wednesday:
Water pressure is expected to be back to normal Wednesday morning for about 100,000 Owensboro Municipal Utilities following a water main break on Monday.
But the water still won't be safe for drinking or cooking until the system is flushed and the Kentucky Division of Water completes testing, which are expected to take place Thursday.
Customers affected by Monday's break near the OMU plant on Fourth Street are advised to bring water used for drinking or cooking to a rolling boil for at least three minutes.
OMU says that when the state declares local water safe to drink, the utility will notify customers on its website, Facebook and Twitter feeds, and through text messages for customers who have signed up for the service.
Updated at 5:49 a.m. Tuesday:
Many Daviess County residents are still without water Tuesday morning, as repair work is underway to fix two water main breaks that have led to a state of emergency.
Crews with Owensboro Municipal Utilities have excavated the areas around the 20-inch and 24-inch water mains.
The early Monday breaks in front of the O-M-U plant on Fourth Street prompted the shut down of water treatment operations, and left some customers with mostly normal water pressure, others with just a trickle and many with no water at all.
OMU Communications Manager Sonya Dixon says for those who do have water, a boil water advisory is in effect until further notice for east, southeast, and west water district customers.
“You need to bring water that you plan to eat or drink or use in cooking to a boil for three minutes and then, obviously, let the water cool if it’s for drinking, or proceed if you’re going to be using it for cooking," Dixon said. "It does not affect, for instance, if you were going to take a shower. This is only for water you are going to consume.”
Daviess County Emergency Management Director Andy Ball said even if the repairs are made later Tuesday, the public health department could order the lines to be flushed.
The Owensboro campus of Western Kentucky University and Owensboro Community and Technical College are closed for a second straight day Tuesday because of the water issues.
Updated at 3:07 p.m.:
According to Owensboro Municipal Utilities, water crews have isolated the leak. Once repairs are made, the water treatment facility will be brought back online and into service. System tanks will then begin to be refilled. A system flush and testing will be conducted. OMU officials says the test results will be reviewed and approved by state water officials before the boil water order can be lifted.
Residents of Owensboro and Daviess County could be without water for an extended period of time after a water main ruptured in front of the Owensboro Municipal Utilities' treatment facility on 4th St.
It's unknown what caused the main break, which occurred around 4:00 a.m. on Monday. OMU crews are working to isolate the break in order to make repairs.
The lack of pressure has resulted in an unknown number of customers without water. For those who do have water, a boil water advisory is in effect until further notice for east, southeast, and west water district customers.
"You need to bring water that you plan to either drink or use in cooking to a boil for three minutes," said OMU Commuications Manager Sonya Dixon. "It does not affect, for instance, if you're going to take a shower. This is only for water that you're going to consume."
OMU doesn't have an estimated time for restoration of service.
The water main break didn't force any evacuations, but Western Kentucky University's Owensboro campus and Owensboro Community and Technical College canceled classes for Monday.