Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Right under our streets, the sheer amount of water leakage from old pipes and water mains is almost beyond belief.

Logan McInnes, Deputy Public Works Director for Utilities, was the featured guest on the City Talk edition of Talk Back on Friday, who shared the staggering numbers.

Currently our leakage rates is about 8,200 gallons a minute,” began McInnes. “We're still leaking a lot of water, but that number is actually down. It was almost 10,000 gallons a minute some two years ago. We're not wasting water but we are concerned about wasting power, right? It takes a lot of energy to pump it out of the ground and run it back into the ground. What we’ve saved over the last year is about 400 gallons a minute, so that's enough every day to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool. Over a year just that amount of effort is going to save 205 million gallons of water.”

8,200 Gallons of Water a Minute Leaks from Missoula's Water System

Admittedly, the water that leaks out of the water pipes primarily returns to Missoula’s aquifer, but McInnes said the city has spent millions of dollars on new water mains.

“Just since the city took over, we've spent $20 million on water mains,” he said. And you know, there were a lot of other things that we needed to spend on with the water system. All of our meters were failing. I mean, there are just a lot of areas where we need to spend money. So if you include what we're spending this year, we've put about $47 million into the water system. Just over the last year alone we’ve spent almost $10 million in capital investments in the water system.”

$100 Million Purchase of the Water Company was the City's Single Largest Investment

McInnes said the $100 million purchase of the water system from Mountain Water has been by far its single largest investment.

For those concerned about repairs from the water main to each individual residence, City of Missoula Communications Director and McInnes explained the low cost and low interest programs available to property owners.

“It's included in some policies or you can ask for it and have it added on,” said Merriam. “Or you can look at third party insurance. We also have low cost loans available through the city for water service line replacements.”

READ MORE: DEQ Disputes Report That Montana Has the Worst Tap Water in USA

A City Councilor Objected to a Sign she said was a Campaign ad for Joe Biden

Ward 6 City Councilor Sandra Vasecka objected to a sign at one of the water main construction sites that stated ‘Project Funded by President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law; Investing in America’, calling it a ‘campaign advertisement’ during an election season. Ryan Sudbury, an Assistant Missoula City Attorney responded to Vasecka’s complaint stating that the sign ‘is a requirement of ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) and SRF (State Revolving Fund Loan) funded projects.’

Listen to the entire hour City Talk presentation here.

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Gallery Credit: Ashley

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