City Officials Concerned About Possible Water Leaks

March 6, 2013
Dwayne Page

The City of Smithville has apparently sprung some water leaks.

Todd Bowman, Supervisor of the Water Treatment Plant, informed the mayor and aldermen Monday night that even after fixing a major leak recently, the system is still pumping more water than it should be for this time of year which is indicative of more leaks.

The city has leak detecting equipment but it is older and not as reliable as new devices now available. Bowman said the city could contract with someone to come in with newer equipment to help locate the leaks throughout the system at a cost of $5,600. The city also has the option of purchasing new leak detecting devices for around $2,600.

Bowman said the amount of water the city is pumping has been ramping up in recent months. "Theoretically each month, you should pump about the same amount of water and you should meter out the same amount unless you have new businesses or industries come in. If you look at November 2011 you can see the amount of water was at 47.9 million gallons. In November 2012 is was 49.7 million gallons. That's when I noticed we had a leak," said Bowman. " In December 2011 it was 49 million and December 2012 it was 54.8 million. Then they found the big leak and fixed it at the end of January," he said.

According to Bowman, the problem has persisted even after the leak was fixed. "In January 2012 it was 49 million and January 2013 it was 56.4 million. In February 2012 it was 46.1 million and February 2013 it was 50 million. Normally in the winter your water (usage) will ramp down. There are no pools or gardens being watered and no lawns. I just wanted you to look at these numbers because I think the system still has a few problems out there. If you compare the numbers to a year ago, they are extremely high. We're up to about two million gallons (usage) per day. When I started we were at 1.7 million per day. You can just gradually see the water ramping up and it should be vice versa right now. In the winter it should fall down and pick back up in the spring. If it stays like this we'll be pumping up to 60 million gallons (per month) by summer. We have talked to a leak survey guy who said he could come in and do the whole system and the whole 54 mile of main for $5,600. He will walk every main in the city. He will spot the leaks and put an "x" on the road and then you have the guys go out and repair the leaks," said Bowman.

Mayor Jimmy Poss said he preferred the city purchasing its own new leak detecting equipment. "We've talked about buying this equipment. We've got one (leak detector). Its older and not as good. It won't detect like this (new equipment). I'd like to buy it. We've got the people to do it (find and repair the leaks)." said Mayor Poss.

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