According to Mayor David Reddish, one way to properly spell the town of ‘Philipsburg’ is to remember, it’s ‘one ‘l’ of a town’, meaning there’s only one ‘l’ in Philipsburg.

That being said, there was one ‘l’ of a community response when Mayor David Reddish got the call at about 1:00 a.m. on Monday, that the town’s water supply had experienced a severe loss of pressure.

Credit: Daniel Reddish
Credit: Daniel Reddish

During the Monday Montana Morning News, KGVO received the alert and immediately called for information. Click here for details from that initial report.

On Tuesday, KGVO reached out to Mayor Reddish for an update.

What follows is a great story of how a small tight-knit community responded and pulled together to solve a local disaster.

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“At about 1:00 a.m. yesterday morning, we got some indications on our monitoring system that there was a huge decrease in (water) flow. Of course, that's a big red flag for us. We mustered all our resources in the early morning hours and tried to determine what the situation might be. And we concluded very quickly that there was a breach in the line itself somewhere.”

Credit: Daniel Reddish
Credit: Daniel Reddish

Reddish contacted several community volunteers to use their snowmobiles to follow the pipeline from both the top and the bottom to find the leak, and after several calls, Life Flight volunteered their helicopter to aid in the search.

“Life Flight was kind enough to return a call and said ‘Yeah, we'll come up and put your public works director on board and see what we can see’," he said. "They flew him up and it was light enough to see. About the time that they got airborne, they got the call that they had located the breach, they indicated to us that they'd also be willing to take some material up there. So they turned around and flew up what we needed with respect to materials to try to fix this thing.”

Reddish praised his engineering team for their response to quickly repair the leak and restore pressure to the town’s water system.

“My crew worked in pretty harrowing conditions in about four feet of snow, I guess,” he said. “It was good in the sense that there was so much water coming out that it had melted all the snow. So they had to climb down into a six foot hole with water blasting out, and then they were able to kick the water out at the dam and start the process of cutting into the thing and getting that replacement piece put in there.”

Credit: Daniel Reddish
Credit: Daniel Reddish

Reddish said he kept the community apprised on the progress of the repair, and praised the support and gratitude expressed for his staff for their quick action to repair the leak and fix the pipeline in a short period of time.

“Were blessed with the community support and given the circumstances, that's how we operate under normal circumstances,” he said. “I think for the most part people's responses have been very positive. Now as you can imagine this morning we’ve been getting a lot of calls for the current status. We're saying yes, you can wash your dishes; yes, you can take a shower, but please don't fill your swimming pool or water your lawn today until we iron out the rough spots.”

Mayor Reddish did not try to speculate on how much the response and the repairs will cost the community, but said he's extraordinarily grateful for the community’s support in the last 36 hours.

I guess Philipsburg really is…one ‘l’ of a town.

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