Dubuque revamping procedures for water main breaks - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque revamping procedures for water main breaks

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A couple of high profile water main breaks in 2016 have prompted the city of Dubuque to change the way they deal with them.

The Dubuque City Council voted 7-0 Wednesday night to adopt a revised standard operating procedure for water main breaks in the city.

Last May, a water main break near East 22nd and Johnson Streets resulted in the loss of more than three million gallons of water, and forced more than 5,000 water customers to go under a water boil advisory.

Then in November, a water main break on 11th Street opened up a huge sinkhole that shut down the street for about a week.

Now the city has a uniformed policy on how to not only deal with those, but how to communicate them to people in the city as well.

"Not all situations will result in a boil water advisory, but if we do find ourselves in a boil water scenario, then it will be clearly defined throughout not just city departments, but also throughout the community as to how we'll be responding," said Denise Ihrig, the city's water department manager. 

Part of this new plan places an emphasis on how the city will communicate with people affected by the water main breaks.

Ihrig says they want people to sign up for their Code Red system, which alerts people through text, phone calls, email and social media.

"Whether we are under a boil water advisory, or whether it's a case of just flushing the line following work we would do in the area, we're hoping to communicate that a little bit better to our residents," Ihrig said.

They've also come up with more specific door hangers that can be used to alert people in concentrated areas about emergencies.

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