On the Job in 72 Hours: AMERICAN Comes Through for Louisville, Kentucky, Following Utility’s Massive Water Main Break

The 48-inch AMERICAN Flow Control gate valve and 48-inch AMERICAN Ductile Iron Pipe were delivered to the job site 72 hours after the main break, and the line was put back into service on Dec. 22, 2017.

This story also appeared in Water Online.

On the morning of Dec. 12, 2017, about 30 homes in Louisville, Kentucky’s Shelby Park neighborhood were without water, and others were experiencing low water pressure after a massive water main break at the intersection of Clay and Oak streets. More than 20 million gallons of water flooded the neighborhood, covering a three-block area.

For Louisville Water Company, the goal was to get the water back on and system pressure stabilized as soon as possible. When a trusted partner was needed to quickly supply the valves and piping for the repair, AMERICAN Cast Iron Pipe Company responded.

According to Louisville Water Project Manager Michael Meyer, the water main break was caused when a more than 120-year-old, 48-inch transmission main split down the side. It was one of the largest mains in the system. Crews worked for six hours to get the majority of the main shut down and turned off more than 60 valves to isolate the break. Louisville Water was able to temporarily reroute its supply and restore water service and pressure to customers the day after the break.

While working to shut down the main, the emergency crew determined it would need to replace an older 48-inch gate valve. Within 72 hours of receiving the call, AMERICAN Flow Control provided one 48-inch and one 24-inch resilient wedge gate valve, and AMERICAN Ductile Iron Pipe delivered a section of 48-inch ductile iron pipe to the job site.

“It took a lot of coordination and help from a lot of different parties to keep things going day-to-day in order to get the job done,” said Meyer. “We had contractors ready and waiting to install, and we were fortunate AMERICAN had the valve somewhat ready to go. All in all it was a good experience. It could have been very bad if we were not able to get the valve quickly.”

AMERICAN Flow Control Sales Representative Drew Clayton, who worked with AMERICAN’s Customer Service and Manufacturing groups to secure the valve for Louisville Water Company, said, “It makes you feel good when you work for a company like AMERICAN. The Golden Rule is not just a marketing thing for us. It’s a part of our culture.”

Meyer said once the valve and piping were installed, the trenches had to be backfilled and the water line flushed. After water testing was completed, the main was put into service on Dec. 22, just in time for the holidays.