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City crews battle water line leaks and breaks

by Eric Mullens
WALSENBURG — For the past two weeks Walsenburg water / sewer employees have worked nights, days and weekends to mend water line breaks that have affected residents and businesses alike.
Currently employees are working to fix two of the three water line breaks in the Northlands area. Acting city administrator Beth Neece said Tuesday that 10 to 15 residences in the Huajatolla Hills area have been without water as well as some Northlands businesses. The Best Western motel had their water shut off on Monday and the Budget Host motel was still without water on Tuesday, Neece said.
The Northlands area had three water line breaks. One has been fixed, one has slightly self-corrected according to Neece and city crews continue to work on the other leak. Neece said two of the leaks were caused by pressure issues that stemmed from the large water line break in the Mutual area nearly two weeks ago and the other was caused when someone drove a vehicle over a valve. She said when that happened, the concrete box around the water line collapsed and when crews began working on it the pipe realigned, although work continues to fix the problem. City crews continued Tuesday to work on the remaining leak at a fire hydrant in the Northlands neighborhood.
Neece said city staff hope to have the Northlands situation fixed this week.
The break of the line in Mutual some two weeks ago was a massive one and staff reported that a four inch pump could not keep up with the leak. City employees have attached a metal sleeve to that break and will complete the fix by encasing the break area in concrete.
“Hundreds of thousands of gallons of water were lost per day in that break,” Neece said.
The cause of the Mutual break has not been determined yet Neece said.
She praised the efforts of the city’s water / sewer employees. “The guys worked really hard to get the water back on to as many people with as little disturbance as possible,” she said. “The guys have gone above and beyond the call of duty, working nights and weekends,” Neece said.
The city has attempted to limit water shut-offs to the middle of the night when the least number of residents and businesses would be affected.

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