Water leaks continue to plague water department

Posted August 15, 2019 at 7:33 am

Water related issues, including low water pressure in some areas of the county and water line breaks and leaks in several locations continue to plague the City of Albany and is somewhat frustrating to both city officials and water department staff.

The water leak and line break issues was once again a primary topic of discussion at last Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Albany City Council.

The numerous line breaks and leakage problems not only cost the city in man hours to repair the lines, but in lost revenue for use of equipment, sometimes needed overtime for employees, not to mention the amount of water that is being lost itself.

The first issue taken up at last week’s meeting, in which all members were present, was hearing from a resident asking help in having a water line leak repaired at the Avaleen Stearns residence in north Albany near Talbott Funeral Home.

Albany Mayor Lyle Pierce and water department employees told the resident they would work to get that matter solved the following day.

Jeff Conner from the water department’s treatment plant, then addressed the council about a recent letter pertaining to water testing, which for a one-quarter period, showed some chemical levels were too high. Conner said he would like to explain the “dangers of the situation” correctly.

Although the report for one quarter showed high amounts, Conner explained that testing is conducted at the treatment plant each quarter and overall the past year, water treated at the plant for consumption is totally safe.

He gave an example, saying at average levels, a person could drink two glasses of water a day in a lifetime that is treated at the plant and have only one in a million chances of developing cancer as a result.

“We do testing quarterly,” said Conner. One high reading threw off the other three quarter results. “The local (water) system is good,” he added, noting that lab tests are done at the plant three times daily.

Following Conner’s report, water department employee Kenneth Delk again addressed the high number of water leaks that have been reported and also told the council, that it was his feeling, “There is a big leak somewhere” in the local system, sometimes referred to as the “loop.”

Those were the latest lines installed in the city and county areas about 12 years or so ago. But, Delk added, “we’re fixing leaks every day.”

Councilman Tony Delk then asked “does not the city engineer help,” apparently referring to these type situations.

Mayor Pierce said the city engineer was supposed to have a crew in Albany this week and was supposed to look into the problem.

Delk said that water, due to all the leaks, comes into the new loop but is lost before it gets to the water tank. “I am not a 100 percent sure there is a huge break somewhere, but I feel pretty certain there is,” he said.

The water department employee also said the county road crews had been helping in reporting any possible leaks when they do their mowing cycles and the city has asked that residents who see what they feel may be a water leak or line break to contact city hall or the water department.

During the discussion on the water line issues, it was also noted that old water meters needed to be switched out little by little on a regular basis so meter readings could be kept accurate and could help in pinpointing areas where line leaks or breaks are occurring.

The council also dealt with other issues at its meeting last week and a separate article on other council actions can be found beginning on page 1 this week.