4B gallons of water lost, problem pipes dominate testimony in Missoula vs. Mountain Water trial

Another private water company, owned by the same group that owns Apple Valley Ranchos, is leaking 4 billion gallons of water a year into the ground, an expert has testified.

In Missoula, Montana, the city is trying to take over the water system from a private operator, Mountain Water, which is owned by the Carlyle Group — the same parent company that owns AVR. The parallels to the Apple Valley situation are striking. The private water company has been relentlessly raising rates. (Same in Apple Valley.) The town of Missoula made a fair offer to purchase the system. The offer was rejected. So the town began condemnation proceedings.

During the trial, an expert testified that the Mountain Water system is so out-of-date that it is possible it is leaking 4 billion gallons of water each year — about half of the water it pumps. The company’s response is that it has been spending millions to upgrade the system. According to Montana News Now, the expert who has been studying the system for a year, “told Judge Karen Townsend they found a system covered in rust and corrosion, with improperly installed equipment, like 75-year old pumps and aging pipes.”
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