Pipe leaking a million gallons of water a month for a decade finally repaired in Cherokee

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CHEROKEE, Ala. (WHNT) – A leaking pipe is no longer costing the town of Cherokee tens of thousands of dollar each year.

For about a decade, Cherokee mayor Terry Cosby said a pipe under Highway 72 was spewing water, and the problem was no easy fix.

“It’s a big drainage ditch underneath the highway,” Cosby explained. “You can stand up in it, but it’s coming out of the concrete and we can’t go dig up the four lane to fix it, and it was leaking into the drainage ditch. So, that’s where the problem was.”

Town engineers attempted patching the leak once, slowing it. Cosby said they never had the equipment or resources for a permanent fix. So, they finally called in the Alabama Rural Water Association for help.

“We spent about a week trying to locate the cutoff, but we were missing it. We finally located it and were able to cut it off and it didn’t cut anybody’s water off, so we killed the leak.”

They also stopped tens of thousands of dollars from heading down the drain. It was a pretty big leak for such a small town. Gallons and gallons were wasted.

“We estimated about 1.3 million a month, our engineer did, and so if you put a dollar figure on that, that’s about $20,000 a year and if we sold that water, there’s a price around $70,000.”

Cosby said that was ten percent of their total water loss right there. However, they are still losing water each month. Crews from the Alabama Rural Water Association will be back next month to help fix even more leaks, and save them more money.