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Leaking valve creates lasting pond near Kmart store
The mini lake fed by a valve leak as it appeared on Tuesday. - photo by Photo by Josh Herbert

Josh Herbert is not a happy camper.

The longtime Manteca resident says he’s “called the city numerous times to fix a water leak” just off Northgate Drive. It’s near the entry way to Standard Plumbing that is next door to Taco Bell and Kmart.

It’s not a recent occurrence.

Herbert said a puddle 30 feet long and 15 feet wide has been there for roughly a year.

He said each time he has called the city he was told that they had no idea whose valve was leaking and left it at that.

Finally last week when he called the water department back, he was promised they would send someone out to look at it.

“It is now Tuesday and the lake is still there,” Herbert said. “I am 38 years old and I never thought I would be so concerned until now.  “This is exactly what is wrong with the City of Manteca. They come after homeowners but will not go and enforce policy with the local businesses because their excuse is they do not know whose valve is leaking. So I guess we should just let thousands and thousands of gallons of water throughout the year leak out of a broken valve instead of finding the proper owner! I am truly disgusted.

Cities such as Lathrop have adopted ordinances requiring “all controllable water leaks – including those at the connection between water sources and hoses – must be controlled.” That means they must be repaired promptly or someone will face fines.

Manteca has no such rule on the website pertaining to water conservation.  Perhaps that should be changed and actually enforced.

• • •

Manteca saves water when city jobs are on the line

When it comes to saving municipal jobs, Manteca comes through with flying colors on water conservation.

Back on July 1, 2009, the city took over landscape maintenance districts (LMD) and terminated private firms in response to the budget crisis. They shifted parks workers to the LMDs to save four city jobs. Since city workers are paid more in benefits and salary, city staff had to find ways to trim costs and improve efficiencies while maintaining the same quality of care that property owners were paying for.

One big way that costs were cut was through water savings. A report to the Manteca City Council in February 2011 indicated the city had reduced water use in the LMDs by 5 to 15 percent depending upon the location. The result was less money spent on water.

Devices were installed to remotely monitor water that will detect breaks in lines and shut systems down so areas aren’t flooded overnight when a problem occurs. The same system also alerts city crews of problems plus allows remotely changing watering scheduling depending upon the weather.

Given the large number of people critical of watering at Woodward Park, Shasta Park and many of the city’s other 50 plus parks, it begs the question whether the same standards have been applied to watering parks.

Of course, there are no jobs on the line and the accountability isn’t as tight as it is with LMDs that require a yearly report and public hearings to set assessments for homeowners.