Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Tue, May 21

Flooding leads to water problems for about 1,000 in city

PRESCOTT – Flooding creek waters wreaked more havoc this week on the City of Prescott's utility sys-tem.

Tuesday morning, about 1,000 of the city's water customers awoke to either low pressure or no water at all – the result of a break in a 12-inch city water line that crosses Willow Creek.

Carol Johnson, utilities manager for the city, said water employees noticed early Tuesday morning that the level of a city water tank was dropping more quickly than normal.

At the same time, the city began getting calls from residents who said they either had no water or very low water pressure.

City workers then began working to isolate the location of the break, Johnson said, and found "clear water bubbling" into the floodwaters of Willow Creek, near the intersection of Willow Creek and Willow Lake roads.

Because of the heavy flow of the creek, city workers could not get to the break to fix it, but Johnson said they did shut down the water line by turning off the valves.

Although water service was back on for customers by mid-morning, Johnson said the break in the water line likely would have future impacts on water ser-vice.

"This is a major line for us, so we will probably have reduced pressures," Johnson said.

After the creek level goes down, and after the city gets authorization from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to work in the creek, Johnson said workers would repair the water break and evaluate it for the future.

With all of the area creeks running rapidly, city water and sewer lines that cross the waterways are feeling the impacts of the tumbling rocks and debris.

Just this past week, the city had a flood-related break in a sewer line in the creek near Fair Street and Gail Gardner Way.

Officials warned that the break likely contaminated the creek water – a situation that reportedly caused difficulty for the emergency workers who searched Granite Creek last week, looking for two lost canoers.

Johnson said subsequent sampling of the water showed levels of bacteria throughout Granite Creek that were consistent with the type of runoff that occurs during major flooding.

"People do need to stay away from all of the creek water," she said.

Although the flooding has not affected the quality of Prescott's potable water, Johnson said it has affected the quality of the surface water.

The water main that broke Tuesday was about six feet below the bed of Willow Creek, Johnson said, but that apparently was not enough to handle the impacts of a flood.

Along with the repairs, she said the city would probably install a concrete cap over the line.

Contact the reporter at cbarks@prescottaz.com

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