City Administrator Harold Selby wants a water efficiency study performed on Pacific’s water system.

Speaking at the Dec. 18 board of aldermen meeting, Selby said the city is losing 20 to 30 percent of its water and he wants to find out where the water is leaking.

“It could be in metering or it could be the fire department,” said Ed Gass, Ward 1 alderman and former public works director. “They go down and practice burns using thousands of gallons of water.”

Selby said he had been contacted by three different firms wanting to conduct the study at no charge.

“They’re all going to do it for free,” he said. “They’re banking that if we rely on them to find the problem we would probably ask them to fix it.”

Alderman Mike Pigg said if the program is as straightforward as Selby explained it, he’s in favor of it.

“Get it in writing and I’ll go for it,” Pigg said.

City Engineer Dan Rahn said he would put out a RFQ to find a company that wants to do the work.

“They tell us we can save $10,000 a year if we do x y z,” Rahn said. “If we only save $5,000, they pay us the difference.”

Tim Hager, who represents NORESCO, Fenton, is one of the firms that wants to do the study. He said if his firm is chosen they would look at efficiency of the entire water system.

As an example, your swimming pool has a three-quarter hose in there all winter because of water seeping out cracks,” Hager said. “Harold has since fixed the cracks.”

Hager said NORESCO engineers would be looking at total efficiency.

“Our fee would be paid for by the efficiencies we find,” he said.

Engineers would evaluate meters, fire department usage, water conditioning wells and pumps, what the city is pumping relative to what it is metering and being paid for, Hager said.

“You won’t know how much you will save until you do the study,” he said. “Our firm would present the study to you and say here is what we found, here is how cash will flow.”

Alderman Mike Bates questioned why the city staff could not do the job, but Rahn said the private companies that offer the service are better qualified.

“That’s their business. They do those studies for a living,” Rahn said. “They use state statutes to tell us we can save money. If we don’t save money they will reimburse us.”

Hager said the city engineer would sign off on any work performed by his firm.