St. Clair residents have been using the new public works phone number where they can report a problem any time of day.

The public works policy was approved in December and it began Jan. 1. The phone number was used three times in January and two times so far this month, according to City Administrator Travis Dierker.

There was an instance last month where a resident reported a leak in their home at 2 a.m., according to Dierker.

“It seems to be working,” Dierker said during Monday’s board meeting.

With this new policy, a cellphone is carried by a public works employee for residents to contact 24/7 with a problem. The phone number is 636-649-9525. If the problem requires on-site inspection, an employee will be at the location within an hour and a half.

“I’ve heard feedback from a couple of people who have actually called it, and they are very thankful. They know it probably costs the city some extra money to do that, but they’ve been thankful that they were able to utilize that and have a number to call,” Dierker said.

The annual cost to implement the new policy is approximately $10,000. An employee will receive an hour of pay just for carrying the phone and if they respond to a call, then they get additional pay.

The on-call policy is to alleviate extra work for police officers and it would divide the call load among the public works staff. In the past, if a resident saw a potential problem such as a water main break, they had to call the Franklin County dispatch who then contacted St. Clair police.

An officer would respond and determine if Public Works Director Jason Ivie needs to be called.

Cold Temperatures

Dierker also mentioned that with the fluctuation in weather, there have been no major water main breaks.

“Even with the frigid temperatures, we had about 15 meters that were frozen, so crews were able to get out and unfreeze those,” he said.

“There was a lot of work done there and I appreciate everybody.”

Last Year’s Main Break

St. Clair was under a boil advisory Sept. 27 through Oct. 9 after a 12-inch by 24-foot water line broke near St. Patrick’s Court.

About 400,000 to 500,000 gallons of water was lost and water pressure was at zero in some areas. The city soon started a chlorination process to the water supply.

The cost to the city for the equipment and chlorination process was between $35,000 to $40,000.