The arctic blast, or “vortex,” that spilled below zero temperatures into the area early last week has kept public works employees hopping in the town of Pulaski.
Asked whether there have been more waterline breaks than typical during freezing weather, Pulaski engineer Bill Pedigo said, “Absolutely.” The early-week freeze that dropped temperatures well below this area’s normal lows resulted in a fast freeze, followed by a quick thaw when the mercury rebounded Wednesday.
Although workers had more breaks than they had employees to address on an immediate basis, an approximately 6 p.m. break on Commerce Street had to be handled as an emergency.
Less severe cases were placed on a list, which crews were still addressing Friday afternoon. Pedigo said at that time that the town was still finding breaks in lines.
The Commerce Street break resulted in the loss of an estimated half a million gallons of water, according to Pedigo. “There was more water there (flooding the street) than I’ve seen before,” he said. If the water didn’t flood a nearby church, he added, “It would have been an act of God.”
There was so much water gushing from the break that the town was having trouble keeping water in the Bertha Street tank and the whole main system. The street had to be shut down and crews were on the scene until about 3 a.m. Thursday making repairs.
Another significant break occurred on East Main Street (Route 99). He said “quite a bit” of water also was lost there, resulting in a loss of water pressure in the Ridge Avenue tank system.
Pedigo commended the town’s public works employees for making needed repairs in “awfully tough conditions.” He added, “They never complain.”
In Dublin, things were a little quieter, according to Town Manager Bill Parker.
Having just returned to his office from a break, Parker said in an email, “Actually, the town of Dublin has been very fortunate in that we had only one major break – an 8-inch line in the Industrial Park.”
He said the utility and fire departments were kept busy responding to calls of frozen residential pipes. Utility personnel had to turn water off at the meters so repairs could be made.
He noted the town did have two underground water meters freeze.