Unseen quake damage in Caraway

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

CARAWAY, AR (KAIT) --We've been talking about all the tremors they are having around Guy, Arkansas but there are a lot of tremors around Caraway . What does that affect? Well it may not bust a window but it does affect their water system.

The old style plastic feed line which was installed in the seventies does not handle movement well.

Couch, "Every time you have a little tremor especially when the ground is hard, it shears off." It is also very vulnerable to rocks rubbing against it as the earth moves.

In Caraway most of that plastic pipe has been replaced. Couch says he rarely encounters leaks of that kind very often. He did say that some nearby water departments still have a lot of it in their systems and the micro-quakes cause leaks quite frequently.

In Caraway, over at the main water treatment plant there are signs of a tremor past.

Couch, "I can tell before I get a geological report when I've had a tremor. Because I have some tracks underneath a tank that open up a little."

And from those tanks the water runs out into a ditch. The tank holds 50 Thousand gallons of water. The first step in sending it out into the system. The 60+ plus year old tank is used as a contact chamber. The incoming well water is mixed with Chlorine and is where the Iron and Manganese separates from the water.

Because of cracks the tank must be periodically drained and repaired with water stop. Water stop is a concrete type repair that sets nearly instantly.

Couch, "We apply it around all the corners. The bottom of the tank around all the corners until we stop it until we have a big enough tremor then we'll start it again."

The small leaks Couch says will eventually fill with mineral deposits and fade to a trickle.

Couch says he's pretty sure there's been a tremor when he looks at his records and realizes the water coming into this big tank is more than what is going out into the main water system.

Couch, "282, 287 you get on down, 286, it varies." The gallons per minute even out between the incoming and outgoing when the tank starts to leak.

The tank has to be repaired about every year and a half or so depending on water loss. But during that repair time water may come from another water system.

Couch says he would like to see a fiberglass tank replace this concrete tank. There are times he says he has lost a hundred gallons a minute. And that's just water rolling into a ditch. But like for many small towns it's expensive. Under the shadow of the Caraway water tank.

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