City officials, PeopleService Inc. ask the public to look out for signs of a water main break

By: Donovan W. Mann –

Humboldt, IA – The City of Humboldt is asking the public to be aware of any potential water main breaks.

During the Humboldt City Council meeting on Monday, March 15, PeopleService, Inc. Representative Ryan Miller reported to the council that the city is using about 100,000 gallons of water a day more than average. Because of this they suspect there is a water main break somewhere they have yet to find.

City officials and Miller know it might be harder for the public to detect right now because of the snow and snow melt but want them to be aware of some of the common signs of a break. Sometimes the signs can be as simple as excess water gathering at a certain spot or water bubbling from the ground.

Miller says sometimes the break can be detected through listening for excessive running water through the storm sewer. If anyone notices abnormal amounts of water pooling or rushing through a storm sewer, they are encouraged to contact city hall so PeopleService, Inc. can investigate.

Miller says PeopleService, Inc. has already begun to go through common tests to help locate the break. If they can get a spot close enough to the leak they can detect chlorine in the ground water.

Another common test PeopleService, Inc. uses is looking for fluoride. Miller says they do add fluoride at the city’s water plant and “that will not get used up through the ground.” Since ground water doesn’t naturally have this chemical PeopleService, Inc. can test for fluoride in ground water to determine there is a break.

Miller told City Council that PeopleService, Inc. has yet to find excessive amounts of fluoride. They continue to work on pinpointing a more exact location in the city.

If they can’t pinpoint a location themselves, they might have to hire a contractor to come in with a device to “listen” for the break. Miller says that there are devices contractor hook to fire hydrants that will emit a sound at the location of break.

Doing so will allow PeopleService, Inc. to avoid digging without a target. “We try to pinpoint it before we start digging.”

If someone in Humboldt notices any potential signs of a water main break they are encouraged to contact City Hall at (515)332-3435.