Water system shutdown scheduled

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

The city of Portales could soon update its water system shutoffs to avoid the type of problem it had last year when a 24-inch main failed, leaving residents without water service for up to 24 hours.

Portales city councilors heard a report from Dan Boivin of Smith Engineering at their regular meeting Tuesday that told them installing three shutoff valves on the main water line could likely be accomplished without a major interruption of service.

Boivin showed councilors on a map where engineering models would locate the valves. He said it would take a great deal of coordination on exactly how to shut off existing valves for the work, but the work should be able to be accomplished with no interruption and only a slight pressure drop for some residents.

Boivin estimated that to hire a contractor to install the valves would cost $50,000 to $60,000.

“Our focus is to clearly take action,” Mayor Orlando Ortega Jr. said. “So if it happened again the effect would be minimal on users.”

Public Works Director Tom Howell told councilors he was checking into the price of equipment so city crews could install the valves. He said that the larger of the three valves would likely have to be contracted, but the equipment could be useful in adding valves in other locations.

“We need a lot more valves other than on this main line to get control of the system,” Howell said.

He said he would bring a proposal to councilors for action after they finished weighing options.

In other business councilors approved a resolution adopting the city’s emergency management plan.