Water Leaks Pick Up as Drought Continues

- City crews seem to be fighting a losing battle against water leaks lately. They responded to 13 water line leaks from Saturday night through Sunday afternoon, and more leaks keep springing up.

That includes one at Sheppard Air Force Base that crews are battling now.

Operations Manager Daniel Nix says since January numbers aren't complete, it's hard to tell if there are more leaks than last year. But he says people are more aware of them since citizens are taking water conservation more seriously.

As precious water runs down the street from a leak city crews are working as long and hard as they can.

“We had several crews that did timeout and the leaks continued to come, we had supervisors in the field, we called in people that weren't on call to assist and we got the leaks taken care of,” says Nix.

It's a rigorous work schedule that has changed since the city went into stage four restrictions.

“We actually have more people on call than we typically do and we've told people and we've told the staff to realize that even if you're not on call, you may be subject to recall if we have a large number of leaks,” says Nix.

Before stage four, crews would reduce the pressure but the water kept flowing to surrounding homes until crews could uncover the pipe and stop the leak.  But now...

“There's been an outcry from the public to get that water stopped so what we are doing is we're completely valving them off and stopping service to customers when we repair the leak. Of course it take a little bit more time to get that leak back in service after we do that,” says Nix.

And when there are more leaks than crews, the city can call in contractors. But they can only do so much.

“But that's just to do excavation. They actually can not work on the pipe because it takes a certified operator to do that,” says Nix.

So for now they just ask the public to be patient while they keep working, trying to keep up with the leaks.

Nix says the rise in leaks is normal this time of year and in the summer when the ground is dry and temperatures are extreme.

If you see a water main leak you should call Water Distribution at 761-4333.

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