It took more than a week, but a water leak outside the Bank of Baker has been fixed.
It was first discovered in early January when water started to flow through the grass between the sidewalk and the bank parking lot at 116 South Main Street in downtown Baker.
The City of Baker responded, according to Luke Holestine, the city’s Director of Public Works.
“The main line was never affected,” he explained. “We dug up a private line - it is called a curb stopper or stand pipe. It controls the water flow to the Bank of Baker. We believed that to be leaking. We (the City of Baker) have a stand pipe fund. It produces funds through the allocation of $1 for each water meter connection. That fund goes up to $10,000,” he explained. “With that $10,000 we service people’s stand pipes if they should fail.
“We initially dug that dig because the stand pipe was leaking, which we would have fixed and replaced, but we found out the stand pipes were not the issue,” he said.
It also gave the city the chance to continue its upgrade of the municipal water system, the public works director added. “We’ll replace those stand pipes since they were uncovered. We’ll put new ones in there replacing ones which were 30 to 40 years old.”
That would bring that part of the system to current standards, Holestine added.
The city did not interrupt the flow of the water into the bank, the director said.
The city was originally notified of the problem when there was excess water, according to Holestine. “There were spots with bubbles coming up,” he said. “When I went there with Dean Wang (the president of the Bank of Baker), we could see some air bubbles coming up in the grass. That told us that the water was working its way to the surface.
“Because it was not an emergency - because it wasn’t shooting out of the ground - the one call situation takes three business days. We had to wait until basically Thursday of last week to dig that.”
Once the city crew unearthed the problem and found the cause was on the private line into the bank, it was referred to a local plumber by the bank, the public works director said. “Anything on either side of the stand pipe, it is a private line. The only thing the city actually owns is the main line that runs in the street.
“Any of the service lines that run off of that - from the main line all the way to the address - are private,” he explained. “The city does take responsibility for the stand pipes and we do have the fund that does that. If the stand pipes are deemed to be leaking, then we do go in there and fix that.”
That meant a private plumber had to come in at the bank’s expense to fix the leaking pipe on the private portion of the line.”
The repairs have been tested, Holestine said. “Everything is good as of right now.”
He added that the incident gave the city the chance to replace the older valves with new ones. “We are currently replacing anything and everything we can. If there is a situation it is being replaced and brought up to current standards. Our entire town is in the process of being GPS-located and marked for all sewer lines, sewer manhole covers, water lines and all the valves to do with both.”
The GPS upgrade for the entire system should be finished sometime during the summer. “You can find any of these valves or manhole covers under snow even (once GPS is fully operational). The GPS would bring you right there and then you did a small little area instead of a 20 by 20. With the GPS location, you could stand right on top of it and just dig. It is a lot more efficient. We have been working on that for two years now,” Holestine said.