By Tim Leeds
Havre Water Plant Superintendent Jeff Jensen said water restrictions will have to go in place again next week, starting Tuesday, May 29.
"I had hoped we wouldn't have to do it again so soon," Jensen said. "I guess if we get it done, we get it done."
The water plant will go off line Tuesday to tie in a new set of pipes for the upgrade the plant is undergoing. Water restrictions were in place earlier this month while two other new pipes were tied in. Jensen said he is initially setting next week's restrictions for Tuesday through Thursday, but will notify Havre residents when the restriction is lifted.
"It should be done in one day one day," he said. "This one shouldn't be bad."
The plant was off line for most of two weeks, from May 7 through May 20, with watering allowed only on the weekend of May 12-13.
Jensen said this one is a newer pipe and shouldn't be as difficult to tie in as the previous two were. He said the construction crews ran into quite a bit of unexpected difficulty with the first two pipes, including extremely high ground water that took several days to pump out before they could continue working with the tie in. That project was originally expected to last two or three days.
Jensen said that while the plant is off line there will be enough water for people's basic needs, but if there is lawn watering or a lot of car washing and so on it could deplete the supply. If an emergency arose, such as a fire, and people had been watering their lawns, he said, there probably wouldn't be enough water for the emergency situation.
Jensen said that he will notify city residents when the water supply is back to normal and restrictions are lifted, whether the job is done quicker than expected or takes a little longer.
The tie ins are part of a major upgrade for the plant which will increase its daily capacity from about 3.5 million gallons to about 6.1 million gallons. The completion of the upgrade is a year or more away, Jensen said earlier this month. New filters will be put in place to increase the capacity, and the new pipes are being tied in to handle the increase once the filters are in.
Water plant personnel have said the increase is needed because the current capacity forces the plant to work 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week.
The increase will both provide more water to the city and reduce the stress on the plant, making a breakdown much less likely.