Water pipe repairs delayed as crews try to determine pipe's owner

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SALT LAKE COUNTY -- In Murray and in Sandy, two separate water pipes sprung a leak Wednesday. As hundreds of gallons of water flowed, in both cases it took hours to figure out which public utility owned the pipe, and then some more time to get the right crews out to fix it.

The leak in Murray happened at the intersection of 900 East and 5600 South. It wasn't a tough leak to fix, but crews had a hard time figuring out who owned what.

"It's safer to immediately not shut it down," Murray's water superintendent, Danny Astill said.

Astill also pointed out it wasn't his city's water line, it's Salt Lake City's. Because of that, he can't do anything until their crews show up.

"I can't shut their water off, and I can't fix their line for them," Astill said, citing liability concerns.

Jeff Grimsdell, who is the field maintenance supervisor with Salt Lake City, agrees.

"It's a reciprocal agreement," Grimsdell said. "We don't mess with their's."

Grimsdell says it's pretty much standard: cities don't mess with other city's water lines.

"They know how their system operates and what is critical to their system. We know what operates what in our system as well," he explained.

So, the water flowed from pipes Tuesday morning as crews checked maps and marked gas lines, power lines and sewer lines. Only then was the water flow shut off.

Some might think this seems like a whole lot of layers of bureaucracy to get to the problem. Grimsdell's reply:

"It could be; could be," he said.

In Sandy, once it was determined who owned what the leak was stopped. In Murray, crews plan on working through the evening to fix the pipe.

Meanwhile, two dozen Salt Lake City residents are estimated to be without water.

Work crews also expected they'd have to shut down the eastbound and northbound traffic through the 900 East and 5600 South intersection. They expect water and traffic to be flowing again by Tuesday night.

E-mail: lprichard@ksl.com

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Lori Prichard


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