Water leak floods part of downtown Waterloo - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Water leak floods part of downtown Waterloo

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WATERLOO (KWWL) Rising waters flooded part of downtown Waterloo Friday morning.

Near the intersection of East Fourth and Walnut Streets, Waterloo Water Works employees were trying to change out a fire hydrant damaged in a car crash.

The hydrant wasn't properly blocked and it popped off causing water to shoot out... very similar to a cork on a bottle of champagne.

The water leak *could have caused a loss in water pressure significant enough to warrant a boil advisory, but that didn't happen, largely due to a computer system waterloo water works uses 24-7 to help monitor water pressure throughout the city.

As soon as the problem with the hydrant happened, a computer monitor showed Water Production Manager Tim Robbins water pressure had dropped.

Robbins said with this system it's very easy to monitor the city's entire water supply and make necessary changes.

"This speeds it up probably by a factor of ten," said Robbins.

When the leak happened, an alarm on the computer system notified Robbins of the problem. Robbins then increased water flow from other wells before residents noticed any drop in pressure.

"So by you doing that, no Waterloo residents should have felt a drop in water pressure. Absolutely not. That's our job," he said.

If water pressure dropped too low, there's a risk of contamination and Waterloo Water Works would issue a boil advisory while the water was tested.

But Robbins can't remember the last time a boil advisory was issued for any part of Waterloo.

"We don't ever want to issue a boil order, but we will if we have to, I want to make that clear to the public. That's my job. I drink the water too," said Robbins.

Robbins said he can't imagine doing his job without the computer system. It cost $300,000 but Robbins says it's worth it to prevent potential and costly problems.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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