GALLIPOLIS — “It looks like we’ve got the major leak stopped now.”
These were the words of Gallipolis City Manager Randy Finney who, during a special Gallipolis City Commission meeting Wednesday evening, discussed the ongoing water line issues within the city.
The water crisis began June 2 following a main water line break at Chickamauga Creek near the intersection of Ohio 141 and Ohio 7 in Gallipolis, and after nearly a week where city water customers went without water and local restaurants in Gallipolis were ordered to close, water was restored as city crews worked around the clock.
Since that time, and the installation of a bypass line across the bridge that spans Chickamauga Creek, the city has continued to lose thousands of gallons a water per day as officials tracked down and attempted to fix water lines that were installed in the early 1900s.
During a previous city commission meeting in late June, Finney reported that the estimated cost of repairing the main line at Chickamauga Creek — the root cause of the water crisis — would be approximately $150,000, with the total cost of the water emergency response and repairs estimated at $250,000.
As of the time of this previous meeting, the city was still losing approximately 300,000 gallons a day through a pipe that had required a custom-made value to shut it off, and, according to Finney, that value has now been installed.
“We have the new valve in and it did shut down the line a little bit more for us,” Finney said. “We have probably gained about a hundred thousand [gallons] a day. So that helped us out quite a bit.”
The previously installed bypass line has also been removed, the city manager reported.
“They did take down the bypass line, so it’s out of there now,” he said. “We got plugs in those and got that out of the way, so there is a lot less risk of problems or issues going on there.”
The city manager further discussed on Wednesday evening that another leak had been found that was causing additional problems, but, water levels are returning to normal.
We actually found a leak — a two-inch water line leak — out on Jackson Pike that was probably causing our other problem,” Finney said. “The last four or five days it’s been about 800,000-850,000 [gallons], and that’s about where it should be. So, it looks like we’ve got the major leak stopped now.”
After seeking bidders for engineering services for the repair of the main water line under Chickamauga Creek, Finney reported that E.L. Robinson Engineering, of Charleston, W.Va., was the only bidder and will provide drawings for the construction of new line by the end of the month.
“I hope to go to bid sometime in August and try to get this thing fixed before the weather gets bad,” Finney said. “It looks pretty good so far with what we’re doing.”
As previously reported, FEMA is expected to provide the city reimbursement for 75 percent of the costs associated with the water emergency.
“I’ve talked to FEMA,” Finney said. “They are OK with what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. That’s going pretty well.”
In addition, the city will be working this week to patch and repair various holes that were made in the pavement along Vine Street as, over the past month and a half, crews repaired water lines in that area.
“Hopefully we’ll do some of the patch work on some of those holes this week. They are going to put down some concrete tomorrow and try to get some of those holes patched up,” he said.