City losing 170,000 gallons of water a day

Problem sparks survey of pipes to find mystery leaks
Ozaukee Press staff

The Port Washington Water Department is losing thousands of gallons of water every day, and Supt. Dave Kleckner wants to know where it’s going.

Kleckner said he documents the water processed at the plant and sent through the distribution system and compares that to the water billed to customers and lost through hydrant flushing and water main breaks.

“I’ve been trying to keep track of every single drop,” he said.

This year, he said, he can only account for 83% of the water produced by the plant.

Last year, he said, he could account for almost 90% of the water.

“I don’t know where the water is going,” Kleckner said. “I’m at a loss to explain why it’s that much.”

The Public Service Commission requires utilities to account for at least 85% of the water they pump, he said, and the Department of Natural Resources sanitary survey recommends a leak survey be conducted when more than 10% of the water can’t be accounted for.

Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven estimated the plant is losing about 170,000 gallons of water a day.

Ald. John Sigwart said, “It could be myriad small leaks or one big one that hasn’t been noticed.”

Kleckner told the Board of Public Works Tuesday he budgeted $20,500 for a leak survey next year, but because of the situation he wants to begin the process now.

That way, any leak that’s found could be repaired before winter sets in, he said.

If 90% of the leakage is stopped, Kleckner said, it would pay for the survey within two months.

The last time the city conducted a leak survey, in 2014, six leaks were found on relatively new plastic pipes.

The board authorized hiring City Water LLC to survey the 21 miles of metal water mains this year for $5,000, noting that most of the issues are likely to occur with these pipes.

They approved a contract that also includes having the firm test the 39 miles of plastic mains in spring at a cost of $13,650, with a report completed for $2,500 at the end of the study.

However, the board stopped short of authorizing the work on the plastic piping, saying they will review that proposal after they get the results of the metal pipe survey.


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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