PRICHARD, Ala. (WKRG) – It has been 8 months since the City of Prichard and the Prichard Water Board went to court over an unpaid water bill. At the center of that dispute, fire hydrants that were not working properly.
They’re still in court, but the city says there are more problems.
The Prichard fire chief says he’s responded to nearly a dozen water breaks over the past two months, more than usual. And it’s causing him concern.
“A lot of them are hydrants that were replaced,” said Chief David Hale.
A thick stack of paper, all water main breaks in the City of Prichard in 2018. Some, are due to weather.
“We’ve had a system that’s been in place for a long time, but with the recent inspections that we did and just doing that process, that kind of disturbed the system in a way that it hasn’t been disturbed in a while,” said Hale.
Prichard Fire Chief David Hale says he’s been contacted by citizens all over the city complaining over water main breaks. He went out to inspect areas and found new fire hydrants had been installed in several of those neighborhoods. He thinks that could be part of the problem.
“The water main burst while they were trying to open it up,” said Hale.
The Prichard Water Board’s lawyer tells us none of the water main breaks were caused by replacing fire hydrants.
New fire hydrants are popping up around the city. But Hale says he still doesn’t know just how many of the total hydrants in the city are operational.
“With all the work that’s going on, it’s kind of difficult to say that I can pinpoint and say that this one is still working to what it was when I last checked it,” said Hale.
One concern for citizens and Hale, the water pressure when the water mains do burst. Hale says while they now have the equipment needed if a hydrant weren’t operational, they still need a dependable water source.
“We have to have a stable water system in order to maintain that water flow,” said Hale.
Chief Hale says he wants more communications between the water board and the city. And citizens have asked to be warned when work is being done in their neighborhoods. The water board’s lawyer says it’s difficult to give exact dates for construction, because this is such a large project, and because of some situations, like weather, it’s not always accurate.
They could not comment directly on the fire hydrants, as it is still in court. They ask if you see a water main leak, to contact the water board immediately. You can find the numbers to call on their website.