After enduring the recent freeze without a flood of problems, Gladewater’s Public Works Department is knee-deep in leaks today.
Anybody who can hold a wrench is out in the field this afternoon, attending to multiple, simultaneous problems with the city’s water infrastructure.
“Seems like there’s a heck of a lot of them right now,” Gladewater City Manager Charlie Smith confirmed. “Everything’s probably just bad infrastructure— old stuff.
“A lot of it seems to be repetition: They’ll go in, fix it, turn around and they’ve got a break down the line somewhere.”
At the top of the list is break in a 12-inch main around Gladewater Primary School near Hwy. 271. West and East Gay Avenue is shut down along 271 from the loop to Lafayette.
“We’re still trying to find the second leaked that popped up,” according to Al Harrison, public works chief. “We’re almost across the highway and haven’t found the leak spot yet.
“We’re probably going to replace everything under the highway so we don’t have to go back there again.”
In a bittersweet turn for the water crews, Gladewater ISD is shuttered Thursday and Friday due to rampant illness.
That provides a little bit of breathing room, Smith said, as the road closures won’t be complicating school traffic.
Smith suggested the recent rainy weather may be partly to blame for these issues.
“The lines that we’re repairing haven’t frozen,” he said. “A lot of it could be because of the rain saturation and the ground shifts. It does the same thing when it’s so dry. That’s because our infrastructure’s so old.
“We’ve got everybody out right now working on different things.”
A repair on Mills Street at the GISD Administration Building is almost complete, Harrison said.
“The one at Broadway Elementary, we’re finished with. We’re backfilling it.”
Elsewhere, there’s a repair underway on Dean Street south of the railroad tracks, and another project on Melba is primarily leaking valves, he noted.
“We need to replace them. We might be able to stop with re-seating them, but we will need to replace them,” Harrison insisted. “Why put a BandAid on it when you can fix it?
“We will fix it and fix it right.”
A steady leak in the 200 block of Main Street is proving a little more difficult to diagnose downtown. Water’s flowing out of street-level drains and also coming up to pool at the grass-level and ripple away.
“I’ve got no idea what that is, but we’ll find it,” Harrison said. “Everybody’s out in the field.
“There’s still all these other things in the city that have to be taken care of too.”
Consequently, city employees are staying on top of things at the water plant.
“I think we’re all right,” Smith said. “They’re working in conjunction with public works. Everybody’s on the same page.
“We don’t want to run below the 20 PSI. They keep a really good eye on that.”