City Sees Decrease In Number Of Water-Main Breaks

Six North Avenue businesses were without water Tuesaday morning and traffic was delayed while crews worked to fix a water-main break. Monday morning a small leak was found in a cast iron water pipe under North Avenue near 6th Street. Crews fixed the leak temporarily, but had to go back out Tuesday morning at 4 a.m. to repair it. The eastbound lanes of North Avenue were detoured to Belford Avenue for more than five hours. Businesses were notified by Public Works that they'd be without water while crews worked on the main. Public Works and Utilities Public Information Officer Kirstin Winn says water-main breaks come with the territory. But over the past 20 years the city has seen a significant decrease in the number of breaks. In 1986 there were 240 water breaks, and in 1996 there were 100, but last year there were only 50. Winn says the reason behind the significant decrease is the completion of the Combined Sewer Elimination Project in the fall of 2004. The 10 million dollar project replaced nearly 10 miles of older waterlines in the central part of the city with new PVC piping. The old cast iron pipes have a life expectancy of 40 to 80 years while PVC piping is expected to last hundreds of years.