The Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District addressed a water leak in the Portals III Pine subdivision at the end of February, according to reports at the Feb. 25 meeting of the water district. The Roundup first reported on the leak last week.

The homeowner, Zslot Andras, first noticed the leak in mid-December when he discovered water in his basement. The issue was not brought to the attention of the PSWID until Dec. 29, according to Robert Arbuthnot, general manager.

The Roundup’s story on the water leak was based on correspondence from Darwin Huber with the Portals III Homeowners Association. He said the PSWID had only made a preliminary investigation and told the homeowner and HOA the leak did not seem to be from the district’s system as there was no chlorine in the water. It was suggested it could be from a septic system or groundwater runoff.

Huber said Andras and the HOA did not agree with this assessment.

“We are doing everything we can to find the leak,” Arbuthnot said.

The PSWID continued investigating, excavating 60 feet of the district’s main line. Arbuthnot said the ground was saturated and leaks are generally found around the pipe sockets. No leak was found until Feb. 24 and that was fixed, according to Arbuthnot.

The district brought in an expert to help it search for leaks by taking readings at production meters. It was discovered, through comparisons with past readings, the system was experiencing extreme water loss.

Excavation to fix the leak was started Feb. 25 and it was repaired that same day.

Arbuthnot said the expert the district hired said the leak was causing a loss of 20 gallons per minute, but he personally could not verify that.

“We don’t know if the leak was responsible for the flooding until it dries out,” he said.

Water chair Alan Kleinman asked how much had been spent on the problem. He was told as of Monday, Feb. 22, the district had spent $12,750. In an interview with the Roundup March 4, Kleinman said the cost has now gone up to $16,500.

“We are continuing to work on the problem,” he said, adding another expert, with more advanced equipment, was coming in Friday, March 5 to help the district.

“We’re looking for more leaks. We’ve installed radio read meters to monitor use and we have not found anyone using more water,” Kleinman said.

Arbuthnot said the district was losing water like crazy at the Feb. 25 meeting. “Pipes are popping a lot, so we’re spending a lot of money replacing pipes.”

He added when people have lost water, fixing that problem is the district’s priority over leaks.

As of March 4, Kleinman said everything looks very stable regarding the PSWID system in Portals III.

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