City employees repair possible 7 million gallon water leak

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A public works employee recently discovered a water leak where a two-inch pipe broke at a joint, which the city estimates could have resulted in a potential seven million gallon water loss.

The city was able to repair the leak within just two days after finding it.

"We discovered a leak that had been going on some time," said Steve Walensky, public works director for the city. "It was discovered by one of our staff. He was going to check on a valve and found the leak. He saw some water where there wasn't supposed to be water, and he tested it and found some chlorine residue in it, so he knew it was ours. We found and repaired the leak within two days. It was in the woods by the creek and we have gotten it repaired."

Walensky said they did not know when the leak started, but no cost was incurred to the city to repair it, other than staff time.

"It only cost our own internal time," he said "We had to cut a little piece of a pipe out and fix it. It could have been a seven million gallon water leak, due to a busted main. We don't know when it started leaking."

The city utilizes an online tool on the Missouri Rural Water Association's website to estimate leaks, and may also look into getting a leak detection system at some point in the future.

"They have a best practices leak estimator that we use," Walensky said. "It does preset calculations for a variety of things: water pressure, potential loss, etc. It's a very well tested and true tool to help municipalities."

Walensky said the tool, which is considered a Missouri standard, is very helpful to the city when addressing leaks.

"Any time there's a leak we use it," he said. "It gives calculations for leaks. If it's a hole in a pipe, a circular break or rectangular break along a pipe, you can estimate the width of the break in inches, the pressure in the pipe and it calculates a guesstimate on average water loss."

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