Montgomery Public Works Department identifies potential source for 9 million-gallon leak

The Montgomery City Council heard how the public works department identified a potential source for its nearly 9 million-gallon leak Nov. 12. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Montgomery City Council heard how the public works department identified a potential source for its nearly 9 million-gallon leak Nov. 12. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Montgomery City Council heard how the public works department identified a potential source for its nearly 9 million-gallon leak Nov. 12. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)

The city of Montgomery has identified the source of its now almost 9 million-gallon leak, though uncertainty remains on when the city will see improvements.

At a regular meeting Nov. 12, Director of Public Works Mike Muckleroy told the Montgomery City Council a public works employee discovered a leak by the Kroger Marketplace at 20168 Eva St, Montgomery.

“He walked it twice and just happened to stumble on it—hearing it, actually hearing it bubbling out of the ground,” Muckleroy said.

Muckleroy said the leak probably leaked approximately 125 gallons a minute. The leak was not discovered until now because the city’s sewer plant also flows into the creek, masking the amount of water that was leaking.

“It didn’t look like any more at one end of the creek or the other,” Muckleroy said.


Council congratulated Muckleroy and his employees for discovering a leak that has plagued the city for the last several months.

However, Michael Williams, the vice president of operations at Gulf Service Utility, the city’s water contractor, said it will be several months before the city sees an improvement in its water accountability, or the amount of water the city produces that is paid and accounted for.

“When I report [in] January, you’ll have middle of October to the middle of November, you’ll see an increase,” Williams said. “And then from the next report on, you’ll see your total number.”

Although Gulst Service Utility reported a 90% accountability for September, Williams said this number was likely inflated due to back-billing unpaid accounts or amounts of water. Williams told Mayor Sarah Countryman the Kroger leak is likely the main cause of the leak.

Appraisals, streets and contracts

  • Council voted for Guy Hancock for the Montgomery Central Appraisal District, which identifies taxable properties and their value. Council Member Tom Cronin said he supported Hancock because the district is currently made up of members "who have been there forever" and Hancock may "shake things up."

  • Council renamed Wade Street to L.A. Washington Street. L.A. Washington Jr. approached the council in 2016 to give the street to the city provided the street be named for his father. Council Member Rebecca Huss said it was unfortunate that because City Council took such a long time to officially rename the street, L.A. Washington Sr. had already passed away.

  • Council approved City Administrator Richard Tramm to solicit bids for the following positions: bond financial adviser, water and wastewater servicer, city attorney, auditor for Master Drainage Study of Town Creek Watershed, IT provider, finance consultant and city engineer. Tramm clarified this does not mean the city will necessarily replace all of the current contractors but said there is benefit in analyzing which current contractors are being used. Council Member John Champagne encouraged Tramm to make the process a regular review every three years.

By Andy Li
Originally from Boone, North Carolina, Andy Li is a graduate of East Carolina University with degrees in Communication with a concentration in Journalism and Political Science. While in school, he worked as a performing arts reporter, news, arts and copy editor and a columnist at the campus newspaper, The East Carolinian. He also had the privilege to work with NPR’s Next Generation Radio, a project for student journalists exploring radio news. Moving to Houston in May 2019, he now works as the reporter for the Conroe/Montgomery edition of Community Impact Newspaper.


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