County repairs 30-inch water main

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Shelby County water officials had their hands full a little more a week ago when the county&8217;s largest water main broke along Highway 280 in Chelsea, cutting off the majority of the regular water supply to the area.

Utilities manager Charles Lay said the 30-inch main broke in the late hours of Saturday, Aug. 27, and was not completely repaired until 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.

&8220;Almost every single one of our customers gets their water through that pathway,&8221; Lay said. &8220;During a high demand time, that main has about eight to nine million gallons of water going through it.&8221;

Lay said the county put into effect a number of emergency measures while the main was being repaired to ensure that customers did not see a change in service.

&8220;We started using water out of our reserve tanks and also called Pelham and Alabaster to cut back on their water intake until we could get the line fixed,&8221; he said.

County officials also activated an emergency water supply line from the City of Birmingham as a precautionary measure.

County water employees could not immediately repair the break because of the main&8217;s depth below ground and the nearby safety threat of power lines.

&8220;The pipe was about 10 feet underground,&8221; Lay said. &8220;It was also close to one of the power lines along Highway 280, so we had to wait for the power company to come out and make sure the lines were not active.&8221;

Lay said he was grateful to city officials and county workers for fixing the main in a timely manner.

&8220;That&8217;s a big ordeal to have to go through,&8221; Lay said.