Water techs lauded for averting crisis

MANISTIQUE — Employees of Manistique’s water/wastewater department were recently honored for the role they played in averting a potential crisis.

On Monday, Nov. 26, Water/Wastewater Superintendent Corey Barr, Lead Water Treatment Plant Operator Rebekah Weber and Water Distribution and Sewer Collections Operator Brad Carlson attended a meeting of the Manistique City Council. There, Barr read a memo explaining what happened and Weber and Carlson were presented with a certificate of achievement.

The incident which these employees were honored for occurred on Sunday, Nov. 4.

“Basically … we had a significant water main failure,” Barr said in regards to what happened this day. He noted this was much larger than a typical water main break, with 0.5 million gallons lost between the detection and the repair of the leak. (Barr also said he believed this leak was caused by external corrosion.)

Weber was the first person to notice the leak. She called Barr shortly after noticing it and began troubleshooting the problem.

Along with Weber, Barr said Carlson played an important role in this incident.

“The key to that whole situation was to find that leak in a timely manner,” he said. Thanks to Carlson’s efforts, the department was able to locate the leak within a half hour; the city’s water tower was taken offline and its distribution system was placed into “pressure mode” once the leak was found.

Barr praised Weber and Carlson for their efforts to contain the leak before it could cause greater problems for the city.

“Both employees did an excellent job of assessing the situation … and coming up with a plan to prevent system-wide depressurization, which would result in a boil water notice,” Barr said. He noted the city’s water did not drop below 45 PSI of pressure during the incident, and a boil water notice must be issued if water goes under 20 PSI. The incident could have also forced local restaurants and hotels to close for up to 72 hours.