Mysterious water leak pinpointed at Lottie Lake
After tallying a bill of more than $124,000, the County of St. Paul was pleased to announce the leak in the Lottie Lake water system has been found, thanks to the “due diligence and help” of local residents.
According to a press release from the County of St. Paul, received late last week, the leak was found on a lot within the hamlet. The lot has a mobile home on it, but it has been vacant for several years. It appears the water was being held under the mobile home and possibly in the property’s septic field, says the release. A backhoe was called in on Sept. 27 to help staff locate the connection valve so it could be turned off.
Since this spring, the county has spent over $120,000 to ensure residents of Lottie Lake continued to have water. The bulk of the money was spent on hauling water from St. Paul to Lottie Lake. The county also had divers inspect the reservoirs, and a leak detection company was hired twice in an attempt to find the leak.
“In addition, staff walked through the subdivision several times to look for signs of water coming up or standing water,” says the press release. The county also tilled the Environmental Reserve (ER) along the shore of the lake to see if there were any lines running into the lake, but nothing was found.
“Both Sustainable Resources and Alberta Environment were contacted prior to the county taking this action,” says CAO Sheila Kitz via email with the Journal, when asked about the tilling of the ER. “Both departments were supportive of us taking this action as we were desperate to find the reason for the water loss in Lottie Lake.”
In late September, county staff tried to close off all water valves to determine if water was still being lost. About 10 valves could not be turned off, including the lot where the leak was eventually found.
Now that the leak has been found, a decision made by council to install new water meters at residents’ homes may be postponed until the 2013 budget, says the release. That decision will be made at this month’s council meeting on Oct. 9.
Resident Dave Neary says he was suspicious of the lot in question and pointed out his concerns to county staff on numerous occasions. Neary noticed the lot looked moist and that he was also worried about the possible appearance of mold on the mobile home.
He says he, along with fellow resident Gene Pidabrozni, were originally out looking at the shore of the lake after the County of St. Paul tilled the ER. Neary says a number of lakeshore residents were concerned about possible damage done to the shoreline, so he decided to check it out for himself.
They came across a very wet area, where it appeared some sort of machinery had recently been stuck in the mud, and Neary and Pidabrozni walked into the trees where the ground continued to be wet. Although he believes in working with the county when issues such as this arise, he believes a lot of money could have been saved if someone had listened to his concerns about the lot in question.
Neary and Pidabrozni called the county before inspecting the lot further, and once a staff member arrived, they took him to the location. Neary says they kicked the back of the trailer and water came pouring out from underneath the structure.
Since the leak was found, the Lottie Lake treatment plant has been keeping up with the demand and no water has been hauled since last week. Work will continue to move forward to run water from Ashmont to Lottie Lake since it has already been approved, says Kitz, adding, this work had to be done regardless.
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