If the Walmart parking lot looked a little slicker to you this weekend than the past few weeks, that’s because a gushing fire hydrant leaked thousands of gallons of water over the pavement late last week. City of Kodiak Public Works director Craig Walton says they’re not entirely sure what caused the leak.
“Not real sure exactly what happened. When the guys finally got it uncovered, the valve controlling the fire hydrant came apart for some reason. We don’t believe it was frozen due to the depth so we’re not real sure what happened.
The hydrant formed a small fountain, he said. It leaked 500 gallons a minute for about a day and a half until they were able to make the repair on Saturday.
“With the temperatures and everything else, turning it off was kind of … you turn it off, then it freezes, and then you got bigger problems.”
Some of the spilled water formed ice over the pavement, adding to what ice was already there. Walton said Walmart took care of chipping and salting the new ice already, and the fire hydrant is up and running again.
This has been Kodiak’s coldest winter in more than five years, and Public Works has been stretched making sure roads and other public facilities continue to operate safely.
“It’s a huge increase in the workload, the amount of snow … takes us a while to get to everything,” Walton said. “We’re doing the best that we can with what we’ve got for equipment. We have our occasional equipment breakdown, which slows us down but the guys are working pretty much seven days a week. Trying to trying to keep the streets safe as best we can.”
And with Kodiak’s unusually cold winter continuing, Walton is urging residents to keep water running from their taps to prevent pipes from freezing — he says a stream about the width of a pencil is sufficient.