Columbus public works fixes Morgan Chapel fire hydrant issue

Published 5:56 pm Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Council commends staff for discovering problem
Columbus Town Council commended its public works department during a meeting May 17 for finding and repairing an issue with fire hydrants at Morgan Chapel Village the town had been dealing with for years.
Some hydrants, particularly along Mountain Laurel Drive, were bagged because they had non-existent or very low water pressure.
Columbus Town Manager Jonathan Kanipe said town staff located a previously unknown valve that was closed halfway. The valve was completely buried and not listed on any water maps provided by the original developer or any of the town’s water maps.
Kanipe said employees located the valve with a metal detector using the location where the pressure began to drop. Council members discussed how much the repair could have cost if the town had hired an outside engineer to find the problem.
“Our public works staff did a tremendous job identifying this issue and determining the best way to approach a resolution,” Kanipe said. “Ricky McGuinn and James Smith were the staff assigned from the town and determined there must be a reason the pressure dropped so dramatically in such a short distance.”
Kanipe said after not finding the valve on a map, the employees searched for a valve in the area where the pressure dropped and uncovered a valve covered by years of dirt, grass and tree roots. It was found to be open only halfway and once the valve was opened fully, the tests showed a significant increase in pressure.
The fix resulted in five hydrants coming into service in the area.
“Our public works staff is to be commended heartily for this good work,” Kanipe told town council. “The town had worked for some time to determine the cause of the reduced pressure in this area and spoken with engineers about the different remedies to fix this. Certainly it goes without question that finding this valve saved the town a substantial amount of money that would have otherwise been spent to improve the water pressure to Morgan Chapel Village.”

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