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Freezing Pipes Mean Extended Hours for Water Department Workers

frozen-pipesMADISONVILLE, Ky. (1/14/14) — Just barely a month into the winter season, Madisonville residents are already suffering from bursting water pipes due to combined freezing temps and strong winds that swooped over western Kentucky earlier this month.

The Madisonville Water Department has been putting in overtime to address problems as quickly as possible.

The ice that forms in the pipes isn’t what causes the pipes to burst, but the radical expansion of the ice against the walls of the pipes. Most of the time, when there is little to no ice, that is what causes the water pipes to burst and pressure buildup leads to pipe failure.

“A week ago today, we have had 15 busted water pipes here in Madisonville,” said Madisonville Water Superintendent Steven Oakley.

The city of Madisonville Water Distribution system is made up of 182 miles of main lines and constructed with different materials with one percent being galvanized pipe, 13 percent PVC, 39 percent cast iron and 47 percent ductile iron. The water main range can vary in from two inches to 16 inches.

“We are talking about pipes from four to 14 inches in size being busted,” said Oakley. “We have also had a little over 100 service calls from around town that their pipes are busted.”

The water distribution system serves about 10,000 residential and commercial customers in Madisonville.

“We are working hard to get them fixed as quickly and efficient as we can,” said Oakley.

Amber Averitt
SurfKY News Reporter
Photo by Janice Turner-Simpson

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