LYNDON – The entire village was without water for about 2 hours Thursday, but the situation was not nearly as serious as a water shutdown experienced earlier in the year, village officials say.
A water line break prompted a boil order and took down the entire village’s water supply last week. The village water utility serves about 280 customers.
On Feb. 21, a water main break at Fourth Street and Sixth Avenue completely drained the water tower, leaving residents without water for most of the day.
“This time, the water tower wasn’t drained,” Village Clerk Shelly Moore said Monday. “A water line broke, not the main, so this wasn’t the same situation at all.”
The water tower was refilled in February, and two samples had to be taken to the area testing site in Dixon.
The most recent water problem was caused by a worn tapping saddle, a band on the water main that allows residents to hook up to the copper water line service. It happened at the corner of East Commercial Street and Eighth Avenue.
“We isolated it by shutting down the main valves,” Public Works Superintendent Mike Williamson said. “We started digging, and it sprayed all over. We couldn’t get the pressure down, so we decided to shut down the well and tower while we worked on it.”
Williamson said it took only about 45 minutes to fix, but it was about 2 hours before everything was operational.
Like many other municipalities, Lyndon is struggling to make long-needed upgrades to its aging water and sewer infrastructure.
Last year, village trustee Les Williams angered some village officials by calling the state EPA to get information about a well that wasn’t operational. Williams was told the village had to wait until after the spring thaw to test it. The village has two wells.
That well is now working again, Williamson said.
“The well was put back online about 2 months ago,” he said. “It’s been upgraded with new pumps, piping and electrical.”
The well has new drain lines so it can be emptied to waste in any weather, which would have greatly reduced the well’s down time.
“Unless the wells are run to waste before they go back up, they won’t pass the EPA bacteria test,” Williamson said.
Bids will soon be put out for a project to update many of the village water mains, especially on First Street. The bidding can begin after the village receives a final report, including cost estimates, from the engineering firm.
“We’ll replace some old asbestos and cement mains, and make the mains deeper so they don’t break as easily,” Williamson said.
The village hasn’t yet looked into grant possibilities, Moore said.
“We’re waiting until we see the cost estimates,” she said. “We’ll probably be doing the work in phases, so there’s no time frame for everything at this point.”