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City fixes water leaks losing 1.6M gallons monthly

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Parsonage Street, where it connects Elizabeth Street with Hughes Boulevard, is shown in Elizabeth City, Tuesday afternoon. City officials recently repaired a water leak along Parsonage Street that was losing the city 1 million gallons of water a month.

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By Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Elizabeth City has found and fixed waterline leaks losing the city almost 1.6 million gallons of water a month, and a city official says even more leaks may be found in the weeks to come.

City crews found the leaks after training with leak-detection equipment last week, City Manager Rich Olson reported late last week.

One leak came from a hole in a service line that was losing more than 1 million gallons a month, Olson said. Another came from a loose connection on a water main that was losing 500,000 gallons a month. Both leaks, which have been repaired, were discovered just as the city began a survey for water leaks, he noted.

Public Utilities Director Amanda Boone detailed Monday that the roughly 1-million-gallon leak was at Parsonage Street, while the smaller leak was around Mill and Crawford streets. Boone said Pasquotank County had a meter in the area near the Mill-Crawford leak, which helped the county notice and report the abnormal water use.

Boone said she plans to update City Council on water leaks at an upcoming meeting.

The city has been hunting down water leaks since late 2017, when prior utilities director Joe Pearce reported systemwide water loss had become unacceptably high, and could cost the city $600,000 a year in treated but wasted water. He blamed Hurricane Matthew, which struck in October 2016, for damaging pipes and causing some of the leaks.

Since then, Boone explained the city has gotten an “asset inventory” grant that’s paid for staff training and “acoustic leak detection” equipment that can essentially listen for water leaks.

Asked how much the latest leaks could have cost the city, had they gone ignored, Boone said she didn’t immediately have an estimate.

City officials put the cost of water production at $2.13 per 1,000 gallons in 2017. If that cost hasn’t changed much, the latest leaks would have cost the city about $40,000 over a year.

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