Hecla officials trying to solve disappearing water mysteryHECLA (AP) — People in the small South Dakota town of Hecla have a question: Where the heck is the water going?
HECLA (AP) — People in the small South Dakota town of Hecla have a question: Where the heck is the water going?
The northeastern community of about 225 people bought 7.7 million gallons of water from a rural water system in the first six months of the year, but only 3.6 million gallons reached residents. Officials have no idea what happened to the rest, and they are asking residents to help solve the mystery.
The problem goes back several years but has been getting progressively worse. City data show that the town lost 1.6 million gallons of water in 2010 and about 3.3 million gallons last year, costing Hecla a total of more than $7,400, the media reported. The water that seems to have evaporated into thin air this year has cost the town $6,150.
"We are receiving the water, but we are not metering out the equivalent amount of water," Mayor Lloyd Trautmann said.
Trautmann told residents during a community meeting Wednesday night to talk about the problem that water rates might be raised if the problem doesn't get fixed soon. He asked residents to look for places where the grass is greener or where the ground is soggy, which could indicate a leak somewhere in the distribution system.
But residents also are perplexed.
"I think they're hoping that somebody comes to tonight's meeting, saying 'I have water in my yard,' " said Betty Freudenthal, who has lived in the Hecla area for 78 years. "I don't know. I don't have any at my place."