Steamboat Springs The town of Hayden is dealing with a new kind of water loss.
Cold weather has resulted in two fire suppression sprinkler pipes bursting and two meters breaking this month in private hangars at Yampa Valley Regional Airport, Hayden Public Works Director Sam Barnes told Hayden Town Council last week.
Barnes said fire suppression sprinklers froze and burst Jan. 1 and 2. He said meters froze and broke Jan. 2 and 15.
Barnes couldn’t say Monday whether the burst pipes were the result of the heat being too low or snow not being deep enough along the sides of the hangars to insulate the meters. But he said the burst pipes and broken meters are uncommon.
“We maybe have one a year out there, small meter (breaks), but we’ve never had any fire suppression problems,” he said.
Barnes said that because fire suppression sprinklers aren’t metered and because the meters broke, there’s no way to figure out how much water was lost.
When pipes and meters freeze and break, it creates unmetered water loss for Hayden, Town Manager Dave Torgler said Monday. He said that could result in increased water rates for residents because the amount of water used determines cost.
“Every water system has water loss, but the more we can reduce those water losses or find a way to bill for places that have water losses, the lower the rate is for our regular customers,” Torgler said.
He said addressing Hayden’s water loss issues are among his top priorities since taking over as town manager Jan. 3. Torgler said minimizing water loss is one way to make the town’s water fund self-supporting, something that hasn’t happened in a long time.
Torgler told the Town Council that Hayden could create a penalty for the private hangar owners if they’re negligence results in more issues. But he said that hasn’t moved beyond preliminary stages.
Nonetheless, Torgler said council members were supportive of the idea, and he will begin to craft a policy that they can review, amend and consider in the future.
Airport Manager Dave Ruppel said he could speak with members of the association of hangar owners about how to prevent breaks from occurring again.
“Obviously, it’s going to affect them, as well,” he said. “It’s not a positive thing for them either. They have to pay for that water. I’m sure none of them want to do that and want some system in place to alert them of a problem.”