City of Saluda finds major water leak off Greenville Street

Published 10:05 pm Monday, March 21, 2016

By Leah Justice

The City of Saluda recently found a major water leak behind its fire station that could considerably cut down on its once 70 percent water loss.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Saluda Board of Commissioners met Monday, March 14 and heard from city manager Jonathan Cannon who detailed the leak.

Cannon said thanks to someone walking in the fire department who noticed a wet spot on the bank the leak was found. The city discovered the leak, which had been running for approximately a year. Cannon said the public works department realized the leak was not where they expected. The city found a terracotta culvert that was probably installed when Greenville Street was a dirt road, Cannon said.

Crews came in with what is called “listeners” at night in order to detect exactly where the leak was coming from, which was at the corner of Maple and Greenville Street.

Cannon showed commissioners a video of a large stream of water leaking out and discussed how Saluda at one time had wooden water lines. The wood had deteriorated and all that is left is the metal rings, Cannon said, so the water was going through the wooden pipe to the terracotta and exiting out the bank behind the fire department.

Saluda Mayor Fred Baisden said people should keep in mind that at one time there were 36 hotels connected to this water line.

“We have been chasing this since last April, probably more realistically since last February,” Cannon said.

Saluda purchases its water from Hendersonville with its usage averaging between 150,000-164,000 gallons per day. City officials said this particular leak likely used 50,000-60,000 gallons of water per day and will significantly cut down on the city’s water loss.

“This is huge in terms of our water loss,” said Cannon.

Baisden said the city’s cost of water per day is about $168.

Saluda has recently been having major issues with its aged water and sewer system and has approved a capital improvement plan and increased water and sewer rates to pay for approximately $2 million in needed repairs. The city has borrowed money from its fund balance to begin repairs to its Laurel Drive lift station, with the first project to replace the discharge line from the lift station to the corner of Hwy. 176 and Ozone Drive. Saluda is applying for a $2 million loan to complete about 14 projects with the increase in rates expected paying back the loan.