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The city of Gainesville, Mo. working to fix water leaks

Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 5:38 PM CDT
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GAINESVILLE, Mo. (KY3) - The city of Gainesville is working to fix several leaks in their water system, including an 800-ft. section that was losing about 50,000 gallons per day.

The city is perhaps best known as the home to Hootin’ and Hollarin’ Days, a September festival of fun that includes locals yelling at the top of their lungs in calls for pigs, turkeys, and even husbands.

But another topic of interest these days is the town’s water supply which comes from three wells and serves about 430 customers.

“Like every other town, all of our infrastructure is aging and needs to be repaired,” said Jessi Price, Gainesville’s Water Specialist.

And that’s why Price and her three-person staff have been working hard to track down leaks in the city’s aging water lines over the last year.

Price explained the town’s water system is divided into different sections, with some losing 20-30 percent of water due to leaks but one area losing 80 percent.

“We’d find leaks and fix ‘em, but we couldn’t find the big one,” she said. “About 1.5 million gallons per month was being wasted. And that (waste) includes the electricity to pump it and the bleach to chlorinate it. It was a major headache, and finding it was the hardest part.”

The town got a significant boost though from the Missouri Rural Water Association, who came in free of charge and discovered an 800-ft. stretch of water line near the Dollar General Store that was leaking around 50,000 gallons a day. The cost to replace that section ran about $58,000, but Price said the project was only possible because of the Missouri Rural Water Association’s help at no charge.

As to how much the replacement lines have helped the problem?

“We will see in about a week where we are,” Price answered. “We should be down to about 20-30 percent (water loss), which will give us a chance to look around for more.”

The area is known for its recreational waterways nearby, with Norfork Lake nine miles away and Bull Shoals Lake 14 miles away, so Gainesville residents understand the importance of fixing the problem.

“We have two beautiful lakes and two great rivers,” said Gainesville insurance agent Douglas Hawkins. “And yeah, it was a little worrisome to have that amount of water escaping. So I’m really glad the city was able to track it down and get it stopped.”

And as to whether the cost of fixing the lines will involve an increase in water bills?

“Last year, the city of Gainesville had a rate increase which was the first since 2010,” Price said. “So they’re keeping everything the same for now.”

“As a small business owner, we don’t want to be throwing good money after bad,” Hawkins added. “So hopefully, with this repair, we’ll be saving water and won’t see any increases.”

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