Water system disrupts life in Ashland, surrounding communities - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Water outages disrupt life for thousands in Ashland, surrounding communities

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The good news for water customers in Boyd County is that water levels are rising in the city's main storage tank.

The bad news is that it may be days before they have running water again.

Ashland's director of engineering and utilities told 13 News on Thursday that between 4,000 and 7,000 Ashland-area residents are without water, due to a main break at 25th Street and Carter Avenue on Monday evening.

He says his crews may be able to restore water to nearly 90 percent of the area's water customers within two days, but variables like weather and the potential for more breaks may make some wait through the weekend until the water is running again.

In the meantime, residents are managing by bunking up with relatives and getting showers at the Ashland YMCA, where the water is running.

"It's been rough," says Oleta Johnson of Summit, where most residents do not have running water. "We're saving water, and doing what we can do."

Ms. Johnson and her husband came to the YMCA for showers before heading to her daughter's house for dinner.

City officials say the state of emergency declared in Boyd County does not mean water is going to be shut off.

They tell 13 News they have been getting calls from residents in a panic, fearing they were going to lose water service.

"We're not shutting water off to anyone," says Ryan Eastwood, Ashland's director of engineering and utilities. "There are some areas that are out of water, and we're working to restore those. We're actually better today than we were the same time yesterday."

On Wednesday, Eastwood reported a drop in water levels and pressure.

On Thursday, he said water levels began to rise, a very good sign.

He is asking for patience from those like Oleta Johnson, while he and other engineers repair the big main break on Carter Avenue and try to stay ahead of other, smaller leaks and breaks in town.

"It's not going to help to get mad," says Ms. Johnson after her shower. "They're giving us water to drink. We just have to wait."