2014-01-29 / Front Page

Fairfax tower springs a leak

by Jazz Clark


Ice forms under the Fairfax water tower last Wednesday, January 22, due to a leak that started in the last few weeks from an unknown issue. 
photo by Geoff Fox Ice forms under the Fairfax water tower last Wednesday, January 22, due to a leak that started in the last few weeks from an unknown issue. photo by Geoff Fox An unknown issue caused a water tower on Fairfax Street to begin leaking in the last few weeks, and the weather is currently too cold to go inside the tank and find the problem, said Town of Bath officials.

The tank is a 200,000-gallon water containment unit which provides public water to the Town of Bath, along with four other water towers. The Fairfax tower itself is located behind Warm Springs Intermediate School off of Fairview Drive.

Town of Bath Mayor Susan Webster said that divers with specialized equipment are needed to actually dive down into the tank and isolate the problem. Finding divers has been a problem during the winter, said officials.

“The divers won’t go inside right now because of the freezing temperatures,” said Terry Largent, Chief Water Operator of Berkeley Springs Waterworks. “They need a good day without a lot of wind, and weather reports say we won’t have that until February. The weather has not been cooperating”

Largent said the problem could be anything from rust eating through the metal to expanding pipes due to extreme weather. He couldn’t pinpoint the exact day the tower began leaking.

Nearby residents said they’ve seen evidence of the leak, including giant icicles, for more than a week.

Terra Diving of Terra Alta, W.Va., originally offered their diving services to the town, but would not give a quoted price until the freezing weather cleared. Terra Diving was only going to plug the hole, not fix the problem.

As of now, however, the leak has reached emergency status. Largent reports the ice is growing heavy on the tower. This could be dangerous to the long-term stability of the tank, he said.

A company called Pittsburg Tank and Tower will be doing emergency repairs after they finish another job in Virginia, Largent said.

The diving repair is tentatively scheduled for Thursday morning, January 30, according to Berkeley Springs Waterworks.

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