- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 16, 2015

LEAD, S.D. (AP) - The city of Lead has over the past year cut in half the amount of water being lost from the municipal water system each month, but the mystery of the leaks isn’t yet solved.

A year ago, as much as 10 million gallons of water was being lost each month due to leaks in the century-old water system. City officials went so far as to use acoustic equipment to detect leaks through sound.

After 12 months, 25 leak repairs and seven fire hydrant replacements, the loss is down to about 4 million gallon monthly, the Black Hills Pioneer reported (https://bit.ly/1LxIN5v ).

“When you’ve got an antique water system you’ve got to expect holes,” Lead Utilities Supervisor Roger Thomas said. “Most of our lines in Lead were put in in the late 1890s to the early 1900s.”

Finding all of the leaks has been the problem. Some are too small to be detectable. Repairing leaking fire hydrants also created more pressure in lines that led to new leaks. Thomas said there is no way to know how many households in town are plagued with leaking faucets and running toilets.



The battle is not over. Thomas said his crews fixed nine leaks in the system last week, and that some of the remaining lost water might not be lost at all, but attributable to inaccurate water meters. Officials hope to eventually replace meters across the city.

“I’m just happy beyond happy that I got a 55 percent water loss capture from last year,” Thomas said. “If I can get another 10 or 15 percent when I do the meters, if I can get it down to 30 percent, 25 percent, I’ll be happy.”

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Information from: Black Hills Pioneer, https://www.bhpioneer.com

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