WINNFIELD, La. – When a mystery leak started intruding into a drain pipe at the Winn Parish Medical Center in Winnfield, La., the community was faced with thousands of dollars in repair costs from digging around the hospital structures. Assistance from the Louisiana Rural Water Association helped located the leak under an open area of ground and save the community thousands in repairs.
“There was a leak near one of the drains next to the hospital emergency room,” said LRWA Circuit Rider David Ryals. “They had water running out of the drain onto the street.”
Because it was intruding into a drain pipe, the leak was extremely difficult to locate. Any potential repairs were complicated by proximity of the hospital. Most of the area was paved in concrete or covered by hospital structures.
“We didn’t know where to dig,” said Eugene Jones, the Public Works Director for the City of Winnfield. “We were about to break up all the concrete.”
Ryals had a creative solution to the problem. He had an inspection camera with a long cable that would fit into the drain.
“We normally use the camera to inspect sewer lines, but it would let us see what was happening inside the drain,” Ryals explained.
He ran the camera lead into the drain. Ryals saw the water leaking into the drain at a joint roughly 20 feet from where the drain emptied. It put the leak under one of the few areas on the property not covered in concrete or under a structure.
“I’ll never forget the look on their faces,” Ryals said.
With the leak located under open ground, city crews were able to dig up and repair the leak without costly damage to the surrounding pavement and structures.
“It was incredible,” Jones said. “LRWA’s staff and equipment saved us thousands of dollars.”
“The Louisiana Rural Water Association and its staff stands committed to assisting all water and wastewater systems with any problems they may incur,” said Patrick Credeur, LRWA Executive Director.