A major leak in the city's water supply line is believed to have been caused by a fairly minor problem, Mayor Michael W. Tucker and City Engineer Norman D. Allen said last week.
The pipe from the Niagara River is losing about 50,000 gallons a day near the intersection of Niagara Falls Boulevard and Shawnee Road on the Wheatfield-North Tonawanda border. The water is flowing into nearby Sawyer Creek.
Allen said the trouble appears to be a blow-off valve, which was installed when the line was laid and not removed after construction. It is outside the curb at the intersection, but Allen said it has been damaged by trucks rolling over the curb and striking it repeatedly over the years.
The Common Council appropriated $150,000 last week to have Yarussi Construction of Niagara Falls tear up the intersection and fix the leak, but Allen said the digging can be done without harming the pavement.
"It could be as little as $5,000. I think it's a little thing," Tucker said.
Allen said the work can't be done until the emergency pump that brings Erie Canal water into the city water system is operational, and as of late last week, it wasn't.
Canal water is the city's stopgap if water supplies from the river are cut off.
Allen said he was unsure if the flow would have to be shut off to make repairs in Wheatfield.