UPDATE: Leaking water pipe in Wausau re-opened - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Leaking water pipe in Wausau re-opened


Wausau Water Works officials say the leaking pipeline on Wausau's west side is being re-opened.

They say the pipe leaked 300 million gallons of water last year, costing the city around $170,000.

Officials say the leak was hard to find because the pipeline is underneath an area of wetlands, making it hard to find.


Wausau Water Works officials say crews found several more holes in a section of pipe that they suspect has been leaking millions of gallons of water for more than a year.

City leaders estimate the leaks have cost the city around 170 thousand dollars, but told Newsline 9 because the holes were located in a piece of pipe underneath wetlands, the problem was very difficult to find.

Water Works employees said they were surprised to learn that pipe was causing problems because the type installed is usually reliable and that section was only installed 30 years ago.

"Very rarely do you have any problems with it, so, we were surprised when we did see the amount of water that was coming up," Wausau Water Works Assistant Superintendent Robert Thompson said.

Thompson said there are pipes throughout the city that are close to 100 years old. Those are monitored more regularly.

But the city lost more than 300 million gallons of water last year, so a water leak detection firm was brought in to try and find where it was going.

Those contractors found the first hole last week in an area behind Fleet Farm off 14th Avenue.

Thompson said ultimately it's his staff that's responsible for monitoring the pipes and finding leaks.

"But it was out in the middle of a swamp. It was running into a creek. It isn't something somebody walks past every day or looks at every day," he said.

He told Newsline 9 that last year, the city had a 27 percent rate of water loss. Mayor Jim Tipple said that rate should be around 15 percent.

So the city hired a water leak detection firm, who ultimately found the first leak off 14th Avenue. Now, workers are replacing the bad pieces of pipe and making sure there aren't anymore holes.

This whole ordeal has cost the city around $170,000 dollars. Mayor Tipple said that money comes from the water and sewer utility, but residents won't see rates go up.

"We've been having stable water rates over the last several years and we'll continue to do that," he said.

Crews hope to have the piped working again by Friday. As far as what's causing the holes, they say they're still inspecting the pipe. It could be the soil in the area eroding the pipe or it could just be that the pipe was bad when it was installed.

There is no estimate yet for costs to repair the leak.



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