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Major water leak discovered

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LaFayette city employees spent a large part of Tuesday repairing a water leak on the corner of B Street and 1st Place SW. A malfunction of the knock-on coupling on the 12-inch pipe caused water to gush into a nearby storm drain. The leak was releasing an estimated 40 to 50 gallons of water per minute. In order to repair the pipe, workers had to shut off water throughout the city for approximatley an hour and a half. Pictured above are city workers Andrew Gregory (left) and Chris Sanders clearing out around the leak getting ready to make the repairs.

The discovery of a significant water leak was brought to the attention of the LaFayette City Council at their meeting Monday evening.

Councilman Terry Mangram brought up the leak, calling it a major problem, and one that could cause parts of the city to be without water for a period of time. Mangram referred to Water Distribution and Waste Collection Superintendent Jeff Williams to further explain the situation.

Williams said that he received a report of water running into a storm drain on the corner of B Street and 1st Place SW. Upon investigation, Williams found a 12-inch water main had a substantial leak. He said that the knock-on coupling is causing the problem on the AC pipe. A replacement part was located and shipped from Milton, Florida and was expected to arrive on Tuesday morning.

Williams said he had located two valves, one on B Street by the fire department and the other on Drake Avenue, that will be cut off in an attempt to make the repairs without shutting down the whole system.

Williams said that one citizen had reported that he had heard water in the storm drain for a substantial amount of time, and asked that anyone immediately report when they hear water running in a storm drain.

Tuesday morning, workers exposed the pipe and leak began making the necessary repairs. Water and Wastewater Plant Superintendent Katie Hill said at that time that the leak might have been there for a while, although it was probably not substantial. She said that Friday night, evidence of a larger leak was noticed due to water level changes at the water plant and the problem was then located. She estimated that the water was leaking at 40 to 50 gallons per minute.

City workers spent most of the day Tuesday repairing the leak. The two valves Williams mentioned were not able to stop the water flow completely, which forced workers to shut down the city’s entire water system for approximately an hour and a half. Despite the setbacks, the necessary repairs were completed. Some water discoloration and air bubbles are expected for a short while following the repairs.

In discussing the pending repairs of Substation No. 1, Electric Superintendent Randy Norred told the council that he had a preconstruction meeting with Stewart Engineering and a tentative start date for the repairs has been set for July 21. He said that the arrival of the needed materials would play a part in getting started on time. The work will take approximately 60 days to complete.

The council was made aware of a certificate of appreciation given to LaFayette Water Works for 50 years of community water fluoridation. 

This national award is given annually by the American Dental Association, the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and recognizes public water systems that reach 50 years of continuous water fluoridation during the past calendar year. The council thanked Superintendent Hill for her work in helping achieve the accomplishment.

Councilwoman Tammie Williams, who is chair of the Public Safety Committee, made a motion at the meeting to immediately discontinue itemized phone bills for the police department. She said the move was necessary in order to keep information, such as informant names, confidential. The motion was unanimously approved.

In other business, the council:

• Discussed having an annual city clean up effort, in which the city would pick up items from residents not usually allowed on street pick-ups. Councilwoman Williams, who brought up the idea, was asked to look at a possible date.

• Agreed to pay $203,109.32 in bills.

• Entered into executive session to discuss possible litigation against the city. No action was taken after the session.