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LeRay losing 55,000 gallons of water a day as workers scramble to fix problem

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LeRay is leaking lots of water.

The Town Council discovered Thursday that it is losing about 55,000 gallons of water every day from Water District 2, which encompasses the commercial district along routes 11 and 342.

But workers, who found out about the problem two weeks ago, still haven’t pinpointed where the leak is, reported Steven Marshall, operator for the Development Authority of the North Country, which maintains the water system for the town.

Town employees are testing fire hydrants to find the leak’s source. It could be on Route 11 across from KFC, Mr. Marshall said, where a “huge wet spot” is present.

Town records show that the leak in Water District 2 likely was present for three months before the problem was confirmed in early April, when the town billed customers for the first quarter, from January through March. During an average quarter, the town government uses 2 million gallons of water produced by its four wells in the district for municipal purposes; the remainder, about 22 million gallons, goes toward households and businesses in the district.

But records for the first quarter of 2013 showed the town’s share accounted for 7 million gallons — far more than it actually used. That meant at least 5 million gallons leaked out of the district during the quarter, an average of 55,000 gallons a day.

Based on the amount residents are charged in the district — $3.75 per 1,000 gallons — the town lost about $18,750 worth of water in the past three months, or about $208 per day.

Though town officials noticed in January that there could be a problem, they couldn’t confirm it until users were billed at the end of March because of insufficient data, said Steven T. Harter, the LeRay supervisor’s administrative clerk. About 300,000 gallons of water flow through the large district each day.

“We noticed (in January) the water flow was higher than the sewer flow, which meant it was going into the ground and not reaching the sewer,” he said.

Workers have tried to find the leak for about a week without any success, Mr. Harter said, but the problem should be resolved soon.

“We think it’s a water main break” or a broken joint, he said.

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