Big or small, a water main break can be quite an event. However, PW’s Distribution and Treatment Plant employees are on call 24/7 to make sure our customers have a safe, adequate supply of life’s most precious natural resource…water!
What is a main break?
Water mains are underground pipes that deliver water to homes and businesses. Occasionally these pipes develop holes or cracks creating a “break” in the system. Main breaks can be caused by sudden fluctuations in water pressure, pipe age, or ground movement due to extreme (hot, cold, wet, dry) weather conditions.
How does Paducah Water respond to a main break?
When a water main break occurs, rest assured PW staff in all departments are working diligently to make repairs and notify those affected as quickly as possible.
Here’s how the process works:
- Distribution crews isolate the ruptured pipe by shutting off valves and temporarily taking the water supply out of service while repairs are made.
- PW staff place orange door tags on the doors of those affected by the shut-off. These tags notify customers that they are under a Boil Water Advisory, or BWA.
- After the main has been repaired, it is thoroughly cleaned, disinfected, and flushed prior to being placed in service. Some customers may experience water discoloration. We recommend turning on a cold water faucet and letting it remain open for a minimum of 2-5 minutes. Any discoloration should clear up during this time. If not, repeat this process until the water is clear.
- When the water is turned back on, samples are collected. Those samples are incubated and analyzed for 18-24 hours in our onsite, state-certified, wet chemistry lab. Having our own lab allows for an expedited testing process, which means quicker turn-around times for BWA issuing/lifting.
- Test results are sent to the Kentucky Division of Water. If the samples are negative, staff will distribute blue door tags to the homes/business affected notifying them that the BWA has been lifted.
- Please note, the local Health Department is notified any time a public facility involved in food preparation is affected.
What can I do if I suspect a main break has occurred?
You can help us by letting us know if there is a sudden drop in water pressure at your home or business, or if you notice water coming up from the ground in or near the street. For questions, comments, concerns or additional information, please call us at 270-442-2746.