HOISINGTON - Thanks to the quick thinking of Hoisington Public Works employees, some elbow grease and a little bit of luck, residents of Hoisington avoided what could have been a very hot day made hotter by an emergency order to conserve water.
Paul Zecha Public Works Superintendent explained what happened. What started as a simple repair to correct the tower’s telemetry, a small crack formed on a piece of one-inch galvanized pipe bringing water to the tower. Unable to shut it off, it was determined the tower would have to be drained in order to make the repair. This, Zecha said, could have taken eight hours, and would have left residents without water until around midnight.
Upon learning this, the city sent out a Nixel alert at 12:42 p.m. to residents informing them of the emergency, and cautioning them to “use extreme water conservation.”
A contingency plan was created in an attempt to avoid this, Zecha said. His crew, with the help of electricians who shut off power to the tower in order to avoid anyone being electrocuted, broke the section of pipe off, and forced a section of pipe in the hole while the water was running.
“We had to switch off guys every few minutes to avoid fatigue,” he said. “When you are working against 50 psi water pressure spraying out at you, it can wear you out quickly.”
After several minutes, they were able to get the pipe in place, stopping the leak and allowing his crew to make the repair. Replaced with stainless steel, Zecha is confident the section repaired will never crack again.
“Our guys got pretty wet today,” Zecha said. Thankfully, with temperatures reaching toward triple digits, no one minded very much, he added.
According to Hoisington City Manager Jonathan Mitchell, when the first alert was sent out, he advised Hoisington’s City Pool management staff to not run the mushroom that day because it consumes a lot of water. The shut-off was short lived.
By 3:36, the city sent out a follow-up Nixel message, alerting residents the water tower repairs were complete, and no further conservation measures were necessary.