Value of water loss disputed 2015.06.17

By DAVID GREEN

Fayette's water loss is significant, notes village administrator Steve Blue, but the value of the lost water, as reported at the May 27 council meeting, isn't really accurate.

All municipal water systems show a discrepancy between the amount that is pumped and the amount that is billed, Blue told council members June 10, but he doesn't agree with the assessment that all of that water equates to lost revenue for the village.

Blue said there are three scenarios at play. Water that is lost by going into the ground can rarely have been billed, he said.

"The important thing to know is that it is an extra expense, not lost revenue," he said.

The extra cost is from an increase use of electricity in pumping, some salt and chlorine use and extra wear and tear on equipment. He estimated this cost at less than 10 percent of the $166,450 listed as the value of water lost.

A second category is water that is accounted for but not billed, such as water used at the cemetery, the village office, the cemetery, the fire hall, and backwashing at the water plant. By installing meters at those locations, he said, there could be an accounting of water used. Even water line breaks should have an estimated amount of gallons lost.

The third category involves water that is simply unaccounted for, without a known source. Water line breaks are the main reason, but meters that have lost their accuracy are also a factor, Blue said.

"While the amount of water that we are pumping versus billed is not a ratio that is good or acceptable," he said, "it is not unbelievable or unique in a town our size with aging infrastructure."

The Aqualine company identified eight locations of suspected leaks and one was repaired.

Councilor Rodney Kessler asked if water from Spring Creek had been tested for chlorine, identifying it as treated village water. The creek doesn't freeze in the winter where it passes through town. Village worker Cole Landon said that water was drawn from three locations and one of them, near the tennis courts, did show traces of chlorine.

The source hasn't been found, Blue said, but it could be coming from the trailer park. The new meter that will gauge water going into the park has not yet been installed, but it will be in place before the next billing cycle.

Mayor Ruth Marlatt said she obtained a spread sheet from the American Water Works Water Loss Control Committee and she has contacted the Ohio Rural Water Association to see if additional tools are available to assist the staff in assessing water management protocol.

PERSONNEL—Council approved a 50¢ an hour pay increase for Landon and voted to make him the back-up sewer treament operator.

WATER  REPORT—The annual Consumer’s Confidence Report for the village water system showed no concerns regarding substances in the water.