By Polly Lynn
RUTLAND — A major water leak was identified and repaired Saturday, March 28, after eight days of searching for the breach, according to Nate Stansberry, associate city engineer for the Rutland Department of Public Works.
However, millions of gallons of water were lost in the process.
“Our best estimate of the water lost last week due to the pipe break off South Main Street is 8,665,272 gallons,” City of Rutland Public Works Department reported, Monday, March 30. “Poured onto a football field it would reach 20 feet deep,” PWD posted to Facebook.
The city first noticed the leak on Saturday, March 21, when the plant flow rate increased by 600,000 gallons, Stansberry said. The city continued to lose about 600,000 gallons a day, until it spiked to more than 2 million gallons a day on Friday.
The leak was especially hard to detect because it was spilling into a wetland off the west side of Route 7. It originated in a bad connection between the city water system and a private connection at the Kia car dealership, said Stansberry.
They were able to pinpoint the leak when samples of water tested positive for chlorine, indicating drinking water had drained into the wetland pools, Commissioner of Public Works Jeff Wennberg explained. Officials were focusing on that area after the General Electric plant on Windcrest Road reported a significant loss of water pressure.
“It was the relatively new service line feeding the Kia dealership. The line ruptured last week but water ran underground and to the surface adjacent to a wetland on the west side of Route 7. Once the service line valve was closed all system pressures and flows returned to normal,” the Rutland DPW posted.
Wennberg said there was a slight chance the low water pressure could have resulted in contaminated drinking water, but water tests Sunday showed no sign of contamination.
Despite the significant loss of water, the cost to the city will be minimal, as it was a private connection that failed and no contamination was reported. “It’s pretty much just the cost of the chlorine,”
Stansberry said explaining that there won’t be any significant long term effect on residents or businesses.