Monday, Mar 10, 2014
Marion Losing 500,000+ Gallons of Water Daily
MARION -- Marion is looking at what could be a costly water crisis. The city is losing hundreds of thousands of gallons of water every day as leaks spring up all over town.
City leaders say they're not in city water mains but at homes and businesses where the pipes couldn't handle the recent cold snap. They learned about the problem last Monday from the Rend Lake Conservancy District.
Tuesday, the water department found the biggest leak yet at a brand new county facility.
The Williamson County jail was without water Tuesday afternoon after a meter reader discovered a loss of 322,000 gallons in just 10 days. That's about 22,000 more than the jail's average use in a month.
"We're losing that water through ruptured water lines and a lot of people don't know it," explained Marion city commissioner Anthony Rinella.
Rinella says water department crews are putting in a lot of hours this week trying to track down leaks and shut off broken water lines.
In January, water officials say the city will normally use about two million gallons a day.
"We got to checking and our daily consumption was up a half a million to 800,000 gallons more than it normally is," said Rinella.
Rinella says last week's below zero temperatures damaged pipes across town, but none of them are on city property.
"Last Tuesday alone we had 40 people call into the office saying they had leaks," he said.
Now, he's urging businesses and residents to check their water lines. "If they do (find leaks), call the water office. We'll send individuals out there to check," Rinella said. "We want to stop the bleeding as quick as we can."
When the February bills go out, Rinella expects many residents will be shocked. He insists, the city will do all it can to help ease the burden.
"Unfortunately we have to have them pay that water but we can adjust our rates to where it will be we think acceptable for them," he explained. "And if we have to put them on a payment plan to pay a little bit at a time, that's what will do."
Rinella also mentioned helping residents affected by leaks by relieving them of their sewage bill.
City leaders ask that you inspect all your pipes for leaks. Also, if you can, check for your neighbors, family, or friends who might not be able to get out on their own. If you find a leak, contact the Marion water department immediately.
Wind: 14 MPH
Humidity: 55 %