Eagle Point gets reservoir leak under control

EAGLE POINT — Barely a week after the city completed its latest attempt to plug a leak in its 3.6 million gallon water reservoir, tests show the leak has been cut by more than 85 percent.

"I'm happy to report that we are now at about 2.5 gallons per minute," Public Works Director Robert Miller told the City Council Tuesday evening. "We did take a measurement this afternoon — we had a ton of rain, of course, over the last couple of days, so we suspect the area to be saturated, but if that figure remains we're feeling pretty confident."

The city's hillside 3.6 million gallon reservoir was built in 1996 and from the beginning had a few small leaks. Earlier this year those leaks had become so severe that more than 33 gallons per minute were escaping.

In March, the city spent $18,000 to seal 980 feet of cracks in the reservoir's concrete floor and the water loss dropped to about 17 gallons a minute.

In May, Civil West Engineering of Coos Bay was hired to assess the leak problem. At the time, Garrett Pallo, president of Civil West, said this type of reservoir has an "excellent reputation" and although all water reservoirs will leak some water, "this is not a normal situation for this type of tank."

As a first step, he recommended a "cement seeding effort" that he hoped might seal many of the cracks found in the tank's concrete floor. The process cost the city just over $9,000.

A ton of dry cement was dropped and spread into a few inches of water covering the tank's floor. After allowing the cement to settle for a day, the reservoir was slowly filled with water.

"We've already taken measurements last Friday and yesterday," Miller said, "and we will continue to monitor twice a week — forever — to see what happens."

Miller said he wanted to thank everyone for their patience.

"I know a lot of people have been waiting a long time to get their water pressure back up," he said.

With the 3.6 million gallon reservoir back online, Miller said, pressure problems should now be over.

"For those people who had pressure concerns," he said, "we're getting the word out in a newsletter to say if you're having an issue with your water, it's not our water system, and please contact us. We'll check it out and let you know what we can do."

Writer Bill Miller lives in Shady Cove. Reach him at newsmiller@live.com.

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