The City of Cheyenne, Board of Public Utilities (BOPU) recently responded to a series of water main leaks throughout the city which have been attributed to recent severe, freezing, weather followed by ground movement amid thawing. Of the approximately fourteen water main leaks in the past two weeks, a large water main leak on the east side of Cahill Park occurred January 23, 2024, where residents experienced flooding of homes. The BOPU prefers to communicate damage claim information directly with affected individuals, however due to increased request for public comment, and in efforts to provide transparency, the BOPU is releasing the below statements following completion of its investigation and report of the incident:
Cahill Park Water Main Leak timeline:
§ The Cahill Park water main leak was one of five water main leaks reported between January 22nd and January 23rd. The BOPU on-call Operations & Maintenance crew responded to the Cahill Park water main leak at approximately 2 a.m. on January 23rd. Crews were on-site working a separate water main leak reported off Fox Farm/College near the sanitation department at approximately 1 a.m. Additional Operations & Maintenance personnel were called in to assist with the Cahill Park water main leak.
§ Operation & Maintenance crews began locating and shutting down valves, ice and frozen valves delayed efforts; however, water was shut down to the area at approximately 5 a.m. The Cheyenne Fire Department assisted with these efforts. Due to the volume of water flow within the system, water main shut down must be done gradually to avoid causing additional damage or main leaks.
§ Notice of the large water main leak was received and public notification was issued via social media just before 6 a.m. Followed by a Discolored Water notification at 7 a.m. with guidance on flushing discolored water through the system.
§ The leak area was isolated, and no customers were out of water for the entire duration of the incident. Crews began assessing the damage and distributing claim forms to residents with assistance from the City’s Risk Management office.
§ Director Brooks visited the site several times throughout the remainder of the week to assess damage, repair efforts, and clean up. Operations & Maintenance crews remained at the work site removing debris and clearing streets and alleys over the course of four days. Repairs to the water main were completed and the area was cleared of debris by Monday, January 29. The BOPU is working with the City’s Street and Alley division for street sweeping of the impacted areas.
§ The BOPU Operations & Maintenance crews plan to work with area residents to remove debris within yards beginning the week of February 5.
While the BOPU is one of many divisions working under the City of Cheyenne, it does operate independently. However, the BOPU is integrated in several aspects of City business including its liability insurance which is administered through the City’s Risk Management Office. The Wyoming Association of Risk Management (WARM) is the insurance provider for the City of Cheyenne and the BOPU. Affected residents have been instructed to file claims through the City’s Risk Management office. WARM will review claims and make the final determination. Affected residents are also able to request an opportunity to present their case to the BOPU Board of Directors following final review and determination from WARM.
More information regarding claims can be found on the BOPU’s website at: https://www.cheyennebopu.org/Residential/Services-Information/File-a-Claim. To date, the City’s Risk Management office has received no completed claim forms related to the Cahill Park water main leak. The BOPU will continue to work directly with the City’s Risk Management office and the WARM regarding claims that are submitted.
A summary of incident timeline, and claim information was provided to several media outlets during requests for interviews over the last week, including KGAB, Cowboy State Daily, and the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.
In the days following the water main leak, the BOPU received a call from the American Red Cross requesting information and stated they were responding and assisting affected residents. Director Brooks responded to inquiries from Council members, a State Senator, and briefed Mayor Collins on the incident. Director Brooks also spoke with property owners Phylicia Peterson and Rosa Hernandez directly on January 29, 2024, regarding the damage their homes sustained and explaining the necessary procedure to file claims.
All employees at the BOPU recognize and acknowledge this incident has had a devastating impact on our customers and the community. The BOPU is and has always worked to provide safe and reliable drinking water and sanitary sewer services to City residents. The BOPU has, and will continue to have ongoing initiatives to maintain, replace, and expand the City’s Water and Sewer infrastructure to best serve our customers.
During incidents such as water main leaks, planned construction, and road closures the BOPU strives to maintain a safe environment for both our employees and the public. The BOPU will make every effort to continue providing the services our customers have grown to expect from us. We welcome and encourage customers to contact us to discuss any matters related to their water and sewer service.