Purdy deals with low water pressure from hydrants

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Mayor pro tem: Residents on north side of town should have fire extinguishers

Testing fire hydrants in Purdy has led to revelations about serious issues in the town's water system.

Bo Prock, mayor pro tem, asked for a hold on plans to color code the 52 fire hydrants as firefighters test them for water production. Marking the hydrants will cost $9.45 each.

Prock recommended testing no more than seven or eight in a day's time, and discouraged testing hydrants in a row.

"By the time they got to No. 32, the city is trying to recover water," Prock said. "We need to test hydrants to see which ones are low."

In the subsequent discussion, Prock said only the city has records of the location and size of the water mains. Dave Gatewood, the public works superintendent, reported he has frequently found discrepancies even from his records. The fire department does not have records and hoped to mark hydrants to provide expectations.

"We probably need to work together," Prock said. "In the northwest part of town, it is bad. If you live over there, you'd better have an extinguisher. We've got two hydrants over there where the pressure didn't measure on the gauge."

According to City Clerk Debbie Redshaw, the city has many two-inch lines in town which are generally deemed inadequate for fighting fires. Prock said the lines will provide water for fire trucks if there's enough pressure, even if they are too small to suction for fear of collapsing the mains.

"Two-inch lines probably wouldn't push water," Prock said. "I don't know about labeling until we've checked the hydrants. We need to know."

"Right after we finish with the sewer," Alderman Wayne Rupp said.

Only 41 percent of the water pumped from Purdy wells is reaching metered customers. Gatewood reported six-inch main on the south side of Highway C "split" in the past month, and repairing it caused two other leaks to restart. Aldermen authorized Gatewood to hire another backhoe operator to make repairs on weekends if the regular contractor continued to be too busy to respond to Purdy's ongoing problems.

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