“The story begins when the city comes to the Florida Rural Water office to borrow a leak detector,” said FRWA Executive Director Gary Williams. “We asked if they needed help along with the leak detector and they said only the equipment was needed.”
The city had isolated the leak, but they wanted to disrupt the service of the fewest possible customers. The leak was pinpointed to a galvanized line that only affected three customers. The community ran new service to those customers and retired the galvanized line.
“That was a great decision, because the line ran under a state highway and this was not going to be the last time they had problems with that old line,” Williams said.
At the same time, a large leak started somewhere in the city. The demand at one of the city’s northern wells spiked from 300,000 gallons per day to 600,000. The city tried to locate the leak, but as the demand approached 750,000 gallons per day, they contacted FRWA for additional assistance.
Williams and one other Florida Rural Water staff member went to assist the city. As they were assisting the city, the leak detector loaned to the community failed and had to be sent off for repairs. Even with the set-back, the rural water experts are able to quickly begin locating leaks in the community with other Association leak detection equipment.
“We first located a leak on a galvanized line, but it turned out not to be the big one,” Williams said.
They later traced a leak to a six-inch PVC line near a storm sewer. That leak was the large leak that was creating such excessive demand and the storm drain allowed it to escape without surfacing. FRWA experts also found another two, smaller leaks in the city before completing their assistance.
“We were taking pictures of the storm drain and leak repairs when the city asked ‘What are you doing? We don’t want to be on the cover of the next FRWA magazine,” Williams said. “We decided to keep them nameless so this run of bad luck doesn’t continue.”