Broken water line plagues east-side schools, businesses and homes
by Laura Haley
contributing writer
Feb 28, 2013 | 1060 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A Moab city road crew works to repair a water main on Locust Lane near 400 East on Tuesday morning, Feb. 26. The broken line caused water to be shut off to a number of nearby homes and businesses, and forced the 10 a.m. closure of Grand County High School for the remainder of the day. Photo by Jeff Richards
A Moab city road crew works to repair a water main on Locust Lane near 400 East on Tuesday morning, Feb. 26. The broken line caused water to be shut off to a number of nearby homes and businesses, and forced the 10 a.m. closure of Grand County High School for the remainder of the day. Photo by Jeff Richards
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Students at Grand County High School and the Moab Charter School were surprised to receive an extra day off on Tuesday, Feb. 26. The students were dismissed from class at approximately 10 a.m. after a major city water line broke, resulting in no water at either of the schools.

According to Moab City Engineer Rebecca Andrus, the break occurred in one of the two main lines that supplies water to the city. The other line burst earlier in the month, and due to the complicated nature of the break, it still has not been repaired.

“It was a big break,” Moab City Mayor Dave Sakrison said. “It was a lot of water.”

Andrus said that, while it was a significant break, a two-inch hole in the line was the ultimate cause of the problem. To complicate matters, most Moab City Water Department employees had been sent to training, leaving only a handful to deal with the break, Moab City Manager Donna Metzler said.

“It was not a good day for most of the water department to be gone,” Andrus said.

The leak was repaired early in the afternoon, restoring water to most of the affected areas on the city’s east side.

The abnormally cold temperatures the area experienced during the month of January left the city dealing with a large number of sewer and water line issues. According to the Moab Public Works Director Jeff Foster, at the beginning of February the city had dealt with four water main breaks, 140 frozen meters and 70 broken meters.

Moab City Council member Jeff Davis, who is responsible for reviewing the city’s bills each month, said that the city spent approximately $33,000 in January dealing with frozen water meters, not including the man hours. The city will also need another $37,200 to pay for a contractor to help locate and excavate the broken water line on 400 East near the Pack Creek bridge.

Andrus said that water line is expected to be repaired soon. “It is complicated,” she said, adding that the city hopes to have a design completed by the end of the week. “Then we have to get a contractor on board.”

Metzler said the city has suggested an amendment to the budget in order to help cover the costs of all the damaged water lines. The amendment would include postponing the purchase of a utility building to house a city-owned vacuum truck, and transferring the $100,000 budgeted for that building to instead pay for water line improvements.

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