The village avoided a major water catastrophe by creating a back-up pressure reduction station on Fifth Street, Ruidoso's utility director told village councilors Tuesday.
"We avoided a major catastrophic failure and now we have a backup," said Director Randall Camp. "We have a double (pressure reducing valve arrangement). If one fails, we can run off the other until we get back on line and it has a built in (camera scan) so we can see it trending for failure and catch it before we have another biker weekend event showering Midtown."
He was referring to a major break that created a shooting fountain during a motorcycle rally event. The village depends on pressure reducing valves, because of more than 40 different pressure zones connected to varying elevations in the mountains.
Councilor Joseph Eby said he stopped by where the water department crew was installing the PRV under "not so favorable circumstances. It was very cold (about 14 degrees). I sympathize with the lady who did not get notification (that water would be shut off), but (our) guys were out there in adverse conditions and ran into unexpected problems."
Camp explained, "What we encountered when we broke into the 30-year-old PRV was an adventure. We found two logging chains with two boomers on them holding the pipes together. When we took the boomers off, the 180 pound pipe almost popped out its coupling. So we had some delays with the unexpected and unmapped conditions and it took longer than originally anticipated, but you adapt and overcome.
Village Manager Debi Lee said she took seriously a complaint by email from a resident about inadequate notification prior to the water being shut off for the installation work.
"It really did catch our attention, are we doing everything we can to inform the public," she said. "We thought about what else we could do. I think it is important we take these things to heart and talk about what we can do to improve that. Not everyone reads the newspaper or listens to radio."