There are not many options available to Canal Winchester in fixing a Washington Street waterline leak-either make the repairs or face a potential water crisis for homes in Ashbrook Village.
Public Works Director Matt Peoples said a section of the pipe between a pair of Washington Street bridges needs to be replaced. If it fails, area residents would lose a main line feeding the nearest water tank.
Although the tank’s capacity is 1 million gallons, the supply would be quickly exhausted. During a Sept. 17 Canal Winchester service committee meeting, Peoples said the city, overall, averaged 920,000 gallons of daily water use in August. The peak single-day use for the year so far is 1.2 million gallons.
"We’ve spent a lot of sleepless nights on this," said Peoples. "We found the waterline leak in July, which was very odd for us. Usually you have leaks in colder weather."
Initially, workers discovered unsuitable material was used in a 1995 repair of the pipe. Repairs were made, but the pipe continued to leak.
"We’re concerned about the future," said Peoples. "There is 400 feet of pipe in poor condition. This was quite unexpected. We have pipe in the ground from the 1950s that’s in better shape. It will be something we’ll have to do. It’s an isolated line feeding Ashbrook Village. If we lost this line, we’d only have a million gallons in the tank (feeding the development) and with winter coming up, we don’t want to have another leak."
Peoples said he does not have an estimated cost for the repair, which Mayor Mike Ebert said should take less than a week to complete, but there are contingency funds the city could tap into to pay for the work.
The project is short-term and Peoples estimated there will be "minor inconveniences" for residents within the service area.
Peoples said he will have more information available in October. He also reported on options the city is exploring in getting a secondary water line to the development.
"We came up with the concept to have an emergency connection with Lithopolis," said Peoples, who said the agreement would be similar to one Canal Winchester has with Pickerington. "It would give us a sense of security. We’re just going through the design now. Lithopolis has a relatively new line. They have extra capacity and significantly greater pressure than we do. We are in discussion to work out some agreement we could easily put into the Tanktown water line."