Frigid Temps Taking Toll On Water Mains


By Jane Ernsberger
Times-Junction News Editor

Frigid temperatures have taken a toll on the water mains within the City of Willard, according to city manager Jim Ludban.

“The water main breaks and resulting conditions have caused our daily water production to increase in order to ensure adequate supply,” he told members of city council. “We are closely monitoring our external customers’ meters to determine if their demands have significantly increased, as well as continuing to search for sources of loss within the city.”

After city workers fixed a water leak on Tiffin Street, Ludban said water production remained high.

“The average this time of year is one million (gallons) to 1.2 million production a day,” he said. “It remained between 1.8 and 2 million gallons a day. We checked the usual suspects in places that have leaked in the past and didn’t find anything.

“We never went down in production requirement,” Ludban noted. “So we started checking daily our meters with Plymouth and with Northern Ohio (Rural Water).”

Ludban said crews started “popping” manhole covers. The thought was the water was not surfacing.

“As far as going some place,” he explained,” it’s not getting used. And today we found evidence of a lot of chlorine water in a storm sewer, which explains when we checked with the water treatment plant and the wastewater plant, they were treating less water rather than more water. So we knew there had to be one somewhere.”

Crews found evidence of the problem on Main Street. Ludban said there is a large flow.

“Rather than dig up a large chunk of Main Street, we called in leak detection people,” he told council. “They’re going to test our waterlines later in the year. In a few hours time, they were able to find the source of the leak.”

The leak was coming from a 10-inch main, Ludban explained. Crews were able to work on the main because it is underneath a manhole.

“Between the eight main breaks, and the surface leaks and the continuous weather, in this last two weeks, we spent more than 180 hours of overtime,” he pointed out. “That’s what needs to happen. We try to be smart about it in terms of how often, how long we kept the crews out if we bring them out early the next day to finish up.”

Council member David Sattig talked about a recent employee luncheon. There were two water breaks, he noted. One was on East High Street and the second at the south end of Spangler Street.

“They got right on it,” Sattig said. “The next day there was a boil alert, and the second day it was okay to use. The guys are out in the cold. They do a really good job, along with everything else they do.”

James Johnson echoed Sattig’s sentiments concerning city crews.

“We appreciate the folks going out in the frigid cold to fix the water breaks.,” he said. “I don’t think there is a whole lot we can do to eliminate them from happening. It’s just the time of the year.”

Ludban said the hope is the weather will warm up and not cause these types of problems for city crews.

“I’m sure they can use some rest,” he said.

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