Mystery water leak troubles Omaha neighborhood

A Southwest Omaha neighborhood is attempting to solve a mystery -- a water leak that MUD says isn't on its line.
Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 10:29 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A nuisance has been seeping to the surface in a southwest Omaha neighborhood.

Both city and M.U.D. crews are baffled while neighbors in the area of 131st and Atwood want the hazard stopped.

A neverending trickle of water has made a big splash among those who drive on Atwood Avenue or live next to it, like Rich Miller.

“A real mystery, nothing has been done of it and we have water leaking all the time,” said Miller. “Very noticeable during the summer. No drainage, it just starts leaking up and it’s all wet around that corner.”

It’s a freeze hazard on cold mornings and parents driving kids to Westwood Church Preschool often mention it to Admissions Director Jodi Packett.

“They ask if we have called, you know they are confused by it because there’s no ice anywhere else but just that section,” said Packett.

M.U.D. says its experts have spent considerable time and resources investigating the source of the water. Crews have used leak detection devices, dug holes and taken samples. All that testing shows the water isn’t coming from a district main. M.U.D. also lacks evidence of a home service leak because a huge water bill hasn’t popped up in the neighborhood.

Omaha’s City Engineer says this leak has been a mystery for Public Works for quite some time. But there is a work order in to tear this area out to find the source and repair it.

Westwood Pastor Quinn Terrell says there’s no way around the water covering a heavily traveled Atwood Avenue, which leads to the church, preschool and YMCA.

“The city has sent snowplows and sometimes an excavator to break up the ice went it’s gotten too high to help keep things flowing which we really appreciate,” said Terrell.

The water flow not only creates a winter driving hazard, but eats away at the street with new concrete showing signs of erosion.

“It increases the potholes, it’s damaging to our vehicles, and this is a highly trafficked area,” neighbor Rich Miller said.

Neighbors say the water flow has been a frustrating mystery for about three years, but Pastor Quinn Terrell has faith that this spring a source will be uncovered.

“There have been a lot of good folks working hard to figure out what it is but they can’t tell because you can’t see what you can’t see underneath all this,” Terrell said.

The City Engineer speculates the water may be coming from some sort of illegal drain. Though testing shows it’s not a water main leak, M.U.D. has deployed a monitoring system just to make sure.