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Water flush

Work interrupted by reservoir painting

Posted: August 17, 2012 - 12:13am

Work on Juneau’s water distribution system that began late last month has been extended from its original approximate end date in mid-August well into September, the City and Borough of Juneau Water Utility announced Thursday.

The Water Utility originally announced July 25 that it would be conducting a flush of Juneau’s water lines from July 29 until about Aug. 15. That work has now been extended until Sept. 14.

The rough schedule for lines to be flushed, as set out by the Water Utility last month, is for work to move generally westward from downtown out toward the Tee Harbor area and up the road.

“We’ve done all of Douglas and significant portion of downtown Juneau, and then we had to jump out to the glacier area of the (Mendenhall) Valley,” said Dave Crabtree, the Water Utility’s superintendent. What remains to be done, he added, is “basically the whole mid-Valley section, from (Bartlett Regional Hospital) on out to Fred Meyer, and then on out to Cohen Drive.”

The public service announcement from the Water Utility Thursday attributed the delays to “extenuating circumstances.”

Crabtree said that completion of the water system flush has been pushed back by another project. The Water Utility has been getting its East Valley reservoir tank recoated and painted, Crabtree said, which has placed another demand on the same water crews were using to flush the lines.

“Once we got out here and utilized that water and took the tank down, we had to stop all our operations,” Crabtree said.

The reservoir painting project has proceeded ahead of schedule, Crabtree added, throwing “a couple of curveballs” at the Water Utility and pushing back its timeframe for completing the water system flush.

“It’s a balancing act here,” said Crabtree. “We’ve got the painter in town. We want good weather so we can paint. We want bad weather so we can flush.”

Crabtree explained that customers tend to use more water when the weather is nice – and during a flush of the water distribution system, it is typical for customers to experience cloudy, discolored water.

The Water Utility’s PSA provided advice to people encountering this issue.

“To clear the discoloration, first wait until the work crew leaves the area, then run the cold water tap (preferably in your bathtub) until the water runs clear,” the statement read in part.

Flushing work is set to resume early next week, according to Crabtree.

“We’ll be starting back from the hospital on out next week, next Monday,” Crabtree said. “Once we get to the Valley, we won’t be working … any further east than Mendenhaven, because we’ve hit that area. But we’ll still be working Back Loop … and progressing on out toward Cohen Drive.”

Crabtree advised anyone with further questions about the status of work or their water service to contact the Water Utility’s office. That office can be reached by phone at 780-6888.

• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at mark.d.miller@juneauempire.com.

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