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Water Leak Nearly Drains Middlebourne

By Staff | Aug 17, 2016

MIDDLEBOURNE – City Hall issued a boil order alert after a major water line broke Sunday morning in front of the Tyler County Senior Center.

Not only does the boil order affect business in the Tyler County Courthouse, but nearby Tyler schools in this county seat community of more than 800 residents.

Though the city temporarily lost nearly all of its water supply, much of that water has been replenished within the past few days.

Mayor Charles Delauder said the boil order will remain in effect until today if the water quality gets a green light from a lab in Bridgeport.

Though the Tyler Star News is published Tuesday, the newspaper will provide an update Wednesday at tylerstarnews.com and via Facebook.

The boil order is in effect until further notice.

“City employees took water samples Tuesday and they were sent to the lab that will test the water quality,” Delauder said. “When the results come back Wednesday, if they are OK – we will lift the boil order. If not, we’ll retest the water on Wednesday and get those results on Thursday. We’ll wait to see what happens then.”

Other water pipes have broken and been repaired within the past couple of weeks. See related story page 7. The Mayor said many of these pipes are due to replaced as part of $2.75 million water infrastructure project

When the leak was discovered around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, Delauder said, thousands of gallons of water escaped from the broken pipe before was repaired several hours later at 11 a.m. During a four-hour span between when the leak was discovered, more than 175,000 gallons of water had disappeared most of the town’s water supply, he said. Much of that water has been slowly replenished.

Delauder said the city’s main tank holds 175,000 gallons while the Tyler School’s tank located nearby holds almost 100,000 gallons but the the school’s tank can not supply the town because of that tank’s elevation. The Mayor said because there is no pressure reducing valve, the city is unable to allow water from Tyler Schools’ tank to the city.

“If we tried to use the school’s tank, the water would have had too much pressure when it flows to town,” he said. “Because it has that much pressure behind it, there was a potential danger that it might blow out spigots and everything else in town.”

Delauder said the break in the 80-year old cast iron line was about a foot long and about three inches wide.

“When you have extremely dry weather like what we’ve been having, the earth gets packed down harder and harder,” he said. “As it gets packed down, it puts pressure on those lines.”

Delauder said some fire hydrants will be opened this to release some of the air in the water lines.

“If you get the air out of the lines, that reduces the possible contamination,” he said. “By doing this, it should improve the water’s quality.”

When the boil order went into effect Sunday, Delauder said, it was the first boil order that has been put in effect since he was elected as mayor.

“That was our first boil order in least three years, maybe as much as 10 years,” he said.

Many residents were notified about the boil order via telephone alert.

“Everyone who turned in their phone number received a phone call about the boil order,” Delauder said.

The Mayor asks that anyone who wishes to have your number added to that list to please place get the appropriate forms from City Hall. He offered praise to Tyler County Emergency Management Director Tom Cooper for his help alerting people about the boil order. During the past several months, Cooper has spearheaded a drive to get more and more Tyler County folks signed up for this telephone alert service.

“I would like to thank Tom Cooper for his assistance he’s the one who initiated all the phone calls which alerted hundreds of citizens that a boil order was in effect on Sunday,” he said. “That helped a lot in notifying our residents what had occurred.”