Official: Absarokee water system “fragile”
Absarokee residents were asked to conserve water last week after one of the water pumps failed.
Residents were asked on Tuesday to restrict water usage to essential use only for the remainder of the week. The water was still considered safe to drink.
One of two pumps in the Circle T subdivision shut down after the motor seized, Absarokee Water and Sewer Chair Mike Reynolds said.
Absarokee’s water system has four pumps, but the two Circle T pumps provide 80 percent of the system’s water. The pump failure resulted in a 40 percent loss in pumping capacity.
The water restrictions were implemented as a precaution, Reynolds said. Water levels in the storage tanks were low by Tuesday afternoon when the problems was discovered.
The pump was repaired on Wednesday, but water restrictions remained in place until Friday to allow time for the storage tank to refill.
The original water system was built in 1953, Reynolds said. Many of the original steel water lines are still in the ground, he said.
The recent pump failure demonstrates just how fragile the water system is, Reynolds said.
The Absarokee water system pumps about 100 million gallons of water per month, but only sells about 30 million gallons.
Reynolds said it is a leaky system, but despite efforts to find and repair leaks the water loss remains about the same each month.
The Water and Sewer District is currently advertising for an engineering firm to perform a Preliminary Engineering Report. The district is also seeking grants to help cover the costs of the engineering assessment and eventual improvements to the system.
Absarokee currently has some of the lowest water rates in Montana, Reynolds said. The rates may eventually increase to cover the costs of improving the water system.