Idaho's Wood River Valley Prevents Millions Of Gallons Of Leaks With Infrastructure Project

Nov 9, 2018

By rerouting water away from 3,000 feet of aging pipes, the city of Ketchum is saving 50,000,000 gallons of water annually.
Credit Paul B / Flickr

A recent overhaul of some city plumbing in Ketchum is saving the Wood River Valley community a staggering amount of water.

Two water lines serve Ketchum; one is a newer municipal one. The other is the Ketchum Springs System. Parts of the one-time private water system contain wooden pipes over a century old. The aging line is barely buried and is prone to freezing. That translates into breaks and leaks.

Actually, a jaw-dropping amount of leakage, says Ketchum Mayor Neil Bradshaw.

“That has leaked approximately 350,000,000 gallons annually,” Bradshaw says, referencing the degrading system.

As part of a three-phase project to modernize the city’s water system, the crumbling Ketchum Springs System is slowly being taken out of commission.

The first phase saw 3,000 feet of the Ketchum Springs System abandoned in favor of newer, deeper pipes. When the water was rerouted, Bradshaw says the savings quickly became apparent.

“This first phase equates to a reduction of 50,000,000 gallons of water per year – about $6,000 in annual savings,” says the mayor. “But as we complete this, this will save about $40,000 annually.”

Four miles of the Ketchum Springs System will be removed from service over the next two years.

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