CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Thousands of West Virginians spent the day Wednesday without water, after a 36-inch West Virginia American Water main broke Tuesday in Dunbar, and many people lined up to get water at distribution sites throughout Kanawha and Putnam counties.
The water main break affected about 25,000 customers in Putnam County and western Kanawha County, as well as nearby areas including Culloden and Hamlin, according to water company spokeswoman Laura Jordan.
The main break occurred just outside West Virginia American Water’s “West Relay Station,” on Wilson Street, just on the other side of the railroad tracks from W.Va. 25, across from the former site of Huck Finn’s restaurant, Jordan said in an email message.
The line was installed in 1971-72 as part of the project that included construction of the Kanawha Valley Treatment Plant on the Elk River and is the main transmission line to the western end of the Kanawha Valley system. In May, the water company repaired a break on a portion of that same line located on Florida Street on Charleston’s West Side.
Jordan said repair crews worked overnight on Tuesday to find the Dunbar break and dig around it. Replacement of the damaged section of 36-inch pipe was expected to take 12 hours, and water company officials said late Wednesday afternoon that repairs should be finished by 7 p.m. At about 7:30 p.m., the company posted an update to Facebook saying it was going to take a few more hours because of “a few setbacks.”
Even after the pipe is replaced, Jordan said it would take several hours to refill miles of large-diameter pipe and numerous storage tanks. After that, customers would be under a boil-water advisory…