At Thursday’s Heavener Utility Authority (HUA) meeting, State Rep. Lundy Kiger (R-Poteau) met with the committee and asked them about the seven or eight waterline breaks or leaks prior and after DEQ’s water inspection on Aug. 28. Prior to that date, there were at least three breaks and after the 28th the city experience at least five more in about 10 days.
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Kiger asked the HUA, with so many breaks in such a short time, if the city had inspected any of the broken lines to determine if the pipes are breaking due to pressure from underground or if the breaks were coming from the inside of the pipe resulting in the metal pushing out in places around the break.
“City officials said they had not inspected any of the broken pipes, and they didn’t even know you could tell how a line broke by looking at it,” Kiger said. “I pointed out it was like a vehicle wreck where the damaged metal shows the direction and point of impact from the other car hitting it.”
Kiger said the reason he asked about pipe inspections is that low pH and chlorine water found in the lines over time can cause corrosion that eats away at the inside of the pipe and causes chemicals and metals to break loose, weakening and possibly breaking the pipe.
“To compound the problem even more, the city confirmed they flushed water lines more than normal prior to DEQ’s visit,” Kiger said. “If the hydrants were opened up or even shut off too quickly, water would hit air pockets which sends a shock wave though the pipes and could easily break a line in half if weakened already. I requested the city to start saving the broken pipes for inspection.”
Kiger went on to say due to the large number of breaks, people and businesses are seeing more dirt and rocks in their lines, causing more problems for appliances and equipment. One business alone has seen a 90 percent increase in filter costs due to the increase in flushing by the city and all the pipes breaking.
Kiger said, “It’s sad when an elderly person that’s disabled has to travel out of town to family just to shower. Heavener is better than this, and everyone associated with city government should be committed to fixing the dirty water that ends up at the homes of residents and businesses. I just don’t see how some of these businesses and people can take much more and stay in business or continue living there.”
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