Winter water woes keep town departments busy

BROCTON – Water and highways workers in the town of Portland and Village of Brocton have been hopping as untimely breaks in water service have taken place.

Earlier this month, staff, parents and students were awakened by a call notifying them that Brocton Central School would close for classes due to a break at a hydrant on Highland Avenue near the village of Brocton Tool House. The break couldn’t be shut off, according to Town Supervisor Dan Schrantz, and caused crews to completely run the Brocton water plant dry in order to stop water flow.

As crews hustled to address the leak, Schrantz acknowledged the existence of an emergency water line installed along Route 5, which allowed Water Supervisor Drew Smith to run adequate water supply to customers along the lake front.

Town Clerk Roxane Sobecki, who busily fielded calls from cooperative but inquisitive water customers, stated at Wednesday night’s town council meeting that she received none from water users along the lake front.

“That was a good project to put that water line to and from the tower, and it was done with leftover grant money from our last district project and Chuck Kelley and his crews put it in. I think now is the time to think about putting a meter on that line. One nice thing about having that emergency line was that gave us what it needed to,” stated Schrantz.

Smith agreed to price dual flow meters that would accurately capture water usage in the event that water supply needed to come from the tower once again.

The town supervisor also reported to the council that Smith has been taking daily master water meter reads in order to accurately detect if there are any large leaks in the Portland districts.

Recently, the town contact New York Rural Water Association to have a piece of equipment test for leak detection, which accurately detected existing leaks in the system. The recording equipment was lent to the town by Rural Water at no charge because of the $200 annual association dues that the town pays.

Schrantz noted that the idea of possibly joining with the village of Brocton to purchase a similar piece of equipment to keep on hand, however the council tabled the proposition for the current budget year.

“This has been a busy time for the water department, and I thank Drew and the town highway crews for their help today,” concluded Schrantz.

Comments on this article may be sent to