Higher water pressures root of breaks in city water system

Opening up preferred backup route stabilizes water supply


Water pours from a sump pump line across Troy Road on Monday as Bellefontaine Water Department crews and Logan Construction Co. work to shut down a critical valve in the city’s water system. (EXAMINER PHOTO | JOEL E. MAST)

Pressure in Bellefontaine’s water system has returned to normal levels after crews were able to shut a critical valve in a major supply line from the city’s west well field.

Efforts to fix the supply line, which runs under the 600 block of south Troy Road and through a swampy area, have been hampered as water crews tried to isolate the damaged area by shutting down various valves.

The valve that was closed Monday was in the flooded swamp just off the east side of Troy.

A dike was constructed by Logan Construction Co. and sump pumps were used to lower the standing water levels so crews could access the valve.

Still, they had to stand in nearly knee-high muck as they screwed the valve shut around 1:30 p.m. Monday.

With the valve shut, crews could open other valves to divert water from a predominately east/west path from the well fields to the water treatment plant at 917 S. Main St. to a line that runs south on Troy then east on Lake Avenue before turning north on Main.

Service Safety Director James Holycross said this is the preferred backup supply route.

A crack in the primary supply line was discovered last week after water began to accumulate in the swampy area.

Mr. Holycross said the problematic valve could not be shut down and it forced the city to use mains along Sandusky Avenue as supply routes from the west well field.

Going up hill and through smaller diameter lines increased water pressure on the city’s west end and that led to more breaks and interruption in service to residential areas, industry and county government facilities including the Logan County Sheriff’s Office and Jail Complex, 284 S. County Road 32; RTC Industries, 36 S. County Road 32; and Logan Acres, 2739 County Road 91.

A break in the supply line to the Discovery Center, 1973 W. State Route 47, led school officials to close the facility today. RTC also was closed.

Mr. Holycross said water crews, who have worked throughout the weekend, were planning to revisit two breaks along County Road 32 for further repair. They also are working at the Discovery Center.

Two clean test samples are required before the city can pull boil alerts. Mr. Holycross said the all-clear could come Thursday morning.

Lt. Greg Fitzpatrick said the service interruption led jail staff to move water coolers with five-gallon jugs from the sheriff’s administrative, dispatch, patrol and investigative offices into the cell blocks.

The office has a good supply of refills for the coolers, he said.

Boiling water for cooking has not been an issue for the kitchen staff, but interruptions to service are a concern to the overall operation.

There are about 80 inmates currently in the facility.

Telephone calls to the Discovery Center and the Logan County Board of Developmental Disabilities went unanswered today.