Lander Regional Hospital CEO says a temporary fix has been applied to leaky water line

The ice sheet on Cedar Street apparently caused by water leaking from a hospital water line. (Joshua Scheer photo)

The ice sheet on Cedar Street apparently caused by water leaking from a hospital water line. This photo was taken on Feb. 6. (Joshua Scheer photo)

By Joshua Scheer, reporter,

(Lander, Wyo.) – Lander Regional Hospital CEO Steve Erixon says a short-term fix has been applied to a leaky water line on the hospital’s property.

Issue was raised on Tuesday night, Feb. 5, at the Lander City Council meeting about the leak. Water apparently leaking from the waterline travels downhill and collects on Cedar Street, causing thick ice. Resident Alan Guiles told the council he first noticed a problem five years ago and talked to Public Works Director Mickey Simmons then. Read the city council story here.

“We regret that we’ve inconvenienced our neighbors down the hill,” Erixon said, adding that hospital doesn’t want to waste a precious commodity like water in Wyoming’s desert climate. “We want to do the right thing for our neighbors.”

He explained that through working with his maintenance staff, the hospital has decided to simply close off the line for the time being. Water will be pumped to the hospital through its main feeder line. Erixon said it has been determined that the hospital can get enough flow through the one pipe to supply the entire operation as well as provide fire suppression if needed. In the event the line breaks, the hospital would be able to turn the leaking line on again.

He does not think there are any safety concerns to worry about while using only one feeder line. “If I did, we’d be digging new trenches right now,” he said. Erixon noted that LRH also has contracts with water supply companies in case of emergencies where no water is available.

Erixon said it was his understanding when the hospital had a water line break last month, the city learned where the Cedar Street water was coming from. That line had to be closed during the repair and water stopped flowing down hill. He said he is grateful the city approached them about the problem.

Erixon said no one in previous years approached the hospital about the leak nor were able to pinpoint the source of the leak.

“As far as I know, we heard about the issue on Monday,” he said, noting that was when the city first approached LRH.

Erixon said he also met with Mayor Mick Wolfe and others about it on Wednesday. He believes that since the hospital has known about the problem, it was taken care of quickly.

The short-term fix, he said, will allow LRH to devise a plan for locating the leak along the line and making the necessary repairs. The second phase of work likely won’t come until spring.