The City of Newburgh’s leak-detection effort has paid off. According to city officials, leak-fixing in the last year has resulted in an almost 50-percent reduction of water loss due to system leaks.
“The City of Newburgh Water Department has successfully reduced its loss of water by 200 million gallons,” said City Manager Michael Ciaravino at Newburgh City Hall on Monday. “We have triple checked it.”
After hiring a contractor to conduct a leak survey last year, the water department set about making repairs. “We found about 225 leaks, in total,” said city Water Superintendent Wayne Vradenburgh.
“Once the leaks were identified, my staff went to work making all the repairs to hydrant leaks, main breaks, service lines… we were losing a lot of water through leaks in the ground.”
Among the largest leaks were two, separate leaks in service lines at Newburgh Free Academy, the water superintendent said. Another very large leak was found in a service line to the Prismatic Dyeing and Finishing on Wisner Avenue. When that leak was fixed, the city’s water production dropped by 350,000 gallons in one day, said Vradenburgh.
The water reduction is saving the city tens of thousands of dollars per day, Vradenburgh said. Estimated savings figures are currently being worked out, he said.
What is certain is the city water plant went from producing 5.5 million gallons of water daily to approximately 3 million gallons of water per day in one year, Vradenburgh explained.
The water savings come by way of hard work and a sound-sensor, leak-detection device called a “water-leak correlator.” The city purchased one for $24,000 in the fall, Vradenburgh said. “That piece of equipment can pinpoint a leak with high accuracy,” he said. The purchase will pay for itself, Vradenburgh said, considering each contracted leak survey costs about $9,000.
Work continues on an ailing sewer main along Water Street, Ciaravino said Monday. “We continue to work with the state Department of Transportation to secure that retaining wall,” he said, speaking about a deteriorated wall very near to the road.
A bypass was built last month to allow the transport of about half of the city’s sewage to the city wastewater plant while the sewer main is being repaired. “As of today, the contractor has removed 100 tons of grit,” said Ciaravino, which partially blocked the leaking sewer main.
The cleaning is expected to be completed sometime this week, he said. “We’ll then be able to plan action steps,” Ciaravino said.
The City of Newburgh water treatment plant will hold open houses from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month throughout the summer months. Schools and groups are welcome. Call the City of Newburgh Water Department to schedule a tour at 565-3356.
By SHANTAL RILEY