A significant water leak continues to plague West Jefferson, but progress is being made.
“We are looking for it and working on fixing it,” Town Manager Brantley Price told the Board of Aldermen at their monthly meeting on Monday, May 2. “It’s not an easy process.”
For the past two months, crews with the N.C. Rural Water Association (NCRWA) and the Town have been going around trying to find a leak that’s causing the town to lose 100,000 gallons of water per day.
The NCRWA is a nonprofit organization that provides technical assistance with drinking water and waste water to small towns at no cost.
Keith Buff, who works with the NCRWA, addressed the board on the progress that’s being made in the search for the leak.
“For the last two months, there’s been a significant increase in unaccounted for water in your town,” Buff said. “We’ve been looking for leaks, with acoustic leak detection equipment. Whenever we find a leak, it amplifies.”
Buff said his crew had inspected every hydrant in town and that while they’ve found and fixed a total of nine leaks, they’ve yet to find the big one they’re looking for.
“We have not found the one we’ve been looking for,” Buff said.
Buff did say his crew had come across a fairly significant leak, but could not specify whether or not it was the “culprit.”
“We found it in a catch basin in a storm drain,” Buff said. “We were really lucky to find it.”
For the last two months, Buff’s crew has spent between 500 and 600 hours in search of the leak.
“Every spare minute they’ve got, they’ve been crawling in creeks, climbing hills and down in ditches, picking up manhole lids,” Buff said.
The Town is still requesting that all residents and commercial facilities call Town Hall if they see any unexplained damp places or running water on their property.
In addition to the water leak, an irremovable blockage has forced workers to replace a sewer line that runs under Business U.S. 221, across from People’s Drug Store.
Price said the sewer line serves several businesses in the area and was broken in four different places. More importantly, however, it was stopped up with a hard, concrete-like substance.
“We’ve put a fire hose up there and it won’t come loose,” Price said.
Price told the board he had appropriated approximately $15,800 to repair the sewer line.
Alan Bulluck can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @albulluck.