Shifting ground affects Parkersburg water lines

PARKERSBURG – While freezing and thawing has left plenty of potholes throughout the area, it’s also having an impact underground.

The Parkersburg Utility Board has had to repair multiple water lines recently as the ground has shifted with temperature fluctuations, said Eric Bennett, utility manager.

“We have had several in the past two to three days,” he said. “They’ve been relatively small. They’ve been fixed fairly quickly.”

One of the most visible occurred Thursday morning as the middle three lanes of Camden Avenue were closed for about three hours. Utility board workers broke through concrete to reach the line as water bubbled up to the surface and flowed along the road.

Bennett said the break was repaired and the hole filled in before noon Thursday. Any service outages were minimal, he said, as the line did not have to be completely shut off while the work was done.

A 6-inch line under Kanawha Street also broke Thursday, but that was repaired by early afternoon, Bennett said.

While the utility board has responded to several line breaks, surrounding municipal utilities have been more fortunate as the temperatures warmed.

Belpre Safety-Service Director Dave Ferguson said he’s not aware of any water line leaks city crews have responded to in the last 10 days.

“I say that as I am pounding my fist on the desk saying, ‘knock on wood,'” he laughed.

Williamstown Public Works Director Alan Gates said there have been breaks on individual customer service lines, but the main lines in the city have held up so far.

“We’ve been pretty lucky,” he said.

Greg Metz, Gates’ counterpart in Vienna, Craig Metz, said freezing and breaking of service lines is all his crews have had to deal with from a water perspective as well.

“We’ve had some minor breaks, here and there,” he said.