Valve work shuts down Standish businesses


STANDISH — Many businesses south of Elm Street on US-23 in Standish were without water for more than eight hours Monday, Feb. 17, as water valve leaks forced city workers to shut down water around 9 a.m.

City Manager Curt Hillman said the valve repairs were not complete until close to 6 p.m. Valves were leaking due to deterioration of the bolts that secured the valves along the water lines.

“When those valves were put in, we’re guessing in 1997, 98, somewhere in that time frame, there was a big water main project that went south of town,” he said. “Valves were put in with regular steel bolts to hold the valve bodies together. Over time, those things corroded and rotted.”

The steel bolts were most likely corroded due to soil conditions in that area, Hillman said.

“There’s an acid in that clay, and it eats at those bolts big time,” he said. “I’ve got bolts that should be five-eighths of an inch in diameter that are probably three-eighths in diameter.”

City workers knew there was an issue with one valve, but Hillman said once they dug down and started looking around at other valves, they saw two others in the same vicinity that were leaking, as well. Repairs were made to all three, Hillman said.

“They replaced the bolts with stainless steel bolts that will handle being in the ground with those types of soils,” he said.

The city had to contact businesses that would be affected, and Hillman said they took it well.

“They understood, thanked us for letting them know so they could make plans accordingly,” he said.

Glenn Greif, the grocery manager at Family Fare, said the water shut-off did not make a big impact on store operations. In fact, he said it seemed at times that the store actually got pretty busy because of the shut-off.

“It seemed like we were probably busier because of people coming in and getting bottled water and stuff,” he said.

The store’s bathrooms were out of order for customers, but other than that, not much changed at Family Fare, according to Greif. He said the store’s water came back on earlier than many other affected businesses, so nobody was sent home.

“The water came on around 2:30 p.m. and our people are here until 5 p.m., the daytime people, so we were able to get done,” he said.

Managers from McDonald’s and Burger King both acknowledged that water was shut off at their restaurants, but said they could not comment any further on the issue.

Greif said it appeared to him that the restaurants south of Elm Street were pretty empty when he drove by.

“I went by around 5:30 p.m. or 6 p.m. and there were only like one car at each of them, so it looked like they took a beating,” he said.

Hillman said he is concerned the valve issue is not over.

“We fixed two last September with the exact same issue,” he said.

According to Hillman, the water line expansion that was done in the late 1990s saw around 20 or 30 new valves installed, and they could all have the steel bolts that have started to deteriorate.


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