Burst pipes causing high usage in Caraway

CARAWAY, AR (KAIT) - The water department for the city of Caraway is pumping three times the amount of water they normally do. They say it's because people have busted water lines and might not realize it.

Though capacity isn't a problem, they're alerting residents to keep them safe.

Terry Couch with the Caraway Water Department says the problem isn't whether the water is running or not, it's where it's running.

"I just left a house that looked like a lake...which today with this rain, you would think it's rain water." Not the case though.

Couch explained that if your water isn't running or your water pressure is low, it's likely from a burst pipe and the water is going under your home.

"99.9% of the time, it's not your water system, where your problem's at. We're in good shape," Couch explained.

Couch said now that temperatures have warmed up, pipes aren't still frozen, they're leaking.

"A lot of them have all that water running on the ground and don't realize it."

Couch explained that his daily logs of water usage in the city are three times higher than normal.

"75,000 gallons a day, that would be in our normal range," Couch said. However over the past few days, he said usage has gone as high as 204,000 gallons.

When checking a house, Couch uses a meter to indicate whether there's a leak. A white triangle in the middle, indicating how severe that leak might be.

At one house Couch visited, you could hear the water gushing underneath the home and the triangle was spinning out of control. Couch said 9 gallons spilled in just 20 seconds.

"Mainly, my concern is my customers. I don't want them having to pay all of this," Couch said.

Though the water department can't fix the problem, they can shut your water off to keep you from paying even more.

"At least they know they've got a problem and they can locate a plumber."

Couch said the water department serves 585 customers but he estimates only 15 to 20 have burst pipes, causing the numbers to jump so high. He asks anyone that believes they have a burst pipe to give the city a call.

If you are one of these customers, the city can assist with that next water bill. Couch explained the city will take your water bills from the past two months and combine it with your high water bill. They will add them together and divide by three.

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