Friday, September 24, 2021

Unknown water line breaks in Mattawa

Staff Writer | September 8, 2021 1:00 AM

MATTAWA — A break, originating in the 300 block of Portage Avenue in a previously unidentified water line, forced Mattawa city officials to shut off the water to about 100 homes Sept. 1.

Mattawa Public Works Director Juan Ledesma said during the Thursday Mattawa City Council meeting the water shutoff affected about a quarter of the city. The problem was a 2-inch water line that wasn’t listed on any city maps, Ledesma said.

“Unidentified water lines are common in small towns, especially when ‘as-built’ plans are not submitted to the city,” Ledesma wrote in an email. “Both sets of city maps did not show the service line.”

Ledesma said people from throughout the community volunteered their time and skills to help the city’s three-person crew trace the source of the leak and cap the broken line. Ledesma said city crews and volunteers shut off 35 valves to stop the water flow. City crews capped the broken line and restored service at about 10 p.m. Sept. 1.

As of Thursday night, Ledesma said he hadn’t heard of any damaged homes. City crews were working on tracing the line, finding out where it went and fixing it, Ledesma said.

Mattawa Mayor Maria Celaya wrote a letter, which was posted on social media, expressing gratitude to Wahluke School District officials, who opened the Wahluke High School locker rooms and training room for people who were without water. Wahluke officials also used the district’s notification system to get the word out, Celaya wrote.