Water woes

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 8, 2007

Leak in water tank leads to low pressure trouble



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Selma residents north of Highland Avenue have been experiencing a decrease in water pressure, but the recent drought had nothing to do with it, engineers said.

The problem was a leaking water tank. In order to fix it, half of the city’s water producing capabilities was temporarily shut down. This led to less water pressure than residents had been used to.

According to the National Weather Service, the current drought is forecast &8220;to persist or intensify.&8221;

The best chance for rain over the past four weeks will be Friday. There is a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon, with a high near 93. Winds will be calm, coming south around 5 mph.

Ray Hogg, Selma Water & Sewer engineer, said the drought has nothing to do with residents experiencing a decrease in water pressure in their homes.

Hogg said the water treatment plant at the site had to be shut down as well, but provisions were made to reroute water to prevent homes serviced by the water tank at Woodrow Avenue and Summerfield Road from being inconvenienced.

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management requires 20 pounds of water pressure for homes, and Hogg said while the water pressure may be lower than customers are used to, it was well within what is required.

The bid repair to the water tank was granted to Pittsburgh Tank & Tower of Henderson, Ky., one of three companies that submitted bids, which bid $48,000 to complete the job. Jim Carroll, who is supervising on site, said they replaced 127 feet of ductile pipe with concrete lining.

The repairs have been made and all that’s left is to paint the new section.

Both of Selma’s water tanks on the north side of Highland Avenue contain about one million gallons. Wells supplying the water comes from the same aquifer, tapping in about 1,400 feet below the surface. The treatment plants remove the iron and magnesium from the water before it’s stored and used.

Hogg said the water is only several hundred feet below the surface, and drought conditions mean the water may be pumped from deeper in the ground. While watering lawns puts pressure on the water supply, Selma is in no danger of &8220;running out of water.&8221;

There have been no restrictions placed on water usage in Selma. However, in Birmingham there have been limits placed on water usage. City officials have talked about possible surcharges to be applied in Birmingham, should residents exceed a certain usage.