Amarillo Braces for Water Main Breaks

Floyd Hartman, Amarillo Water and Wastewater Department
Floyd Hartman, Amarillo Water and Wastewater Department

'Tis the season for busted water mains. With colder weather, the city of Amarillo braces for a rash of broken pipe lines throughout the city. NewsChannel 10's Marissa Bagg explains what poses the biggest problem for the city.

The thinnest pipes that are two-inches thick are the most likely to bust, because they are old and fragile. The plan the city has in place to fix them all is decades away at best.

This time of year city crews are spread thin because there are sometimes double, or even triple the amount of repairs needed. Mother nature is the culprit.

"When a ground changes temperature, it contracts. When that happens because the pipes are ridgid there is a pull on them and itforces the pipe, and that's what breaks the pipe," says Floyd Hartman with the Amarillo Water and Wastewater Department.

There are more than 100 miles of two-inch pipes the city is trying to replace. At two to five miles a year, it may take 20 years to replace. Even that timeline could be pushed back as costs rise.

"In last three years, costs have increased, including other supplies and the cost of fuel," says Hartman.

That's why the city has to keep up with their current band-aid type plan, which keeps them busy.

"We monitor the locations, and identify the 2 inch breaks. We target bad mains, if we find one we're repeatedly going to, we move it up on priority list to fix," says Hartman.

Hartman says the worst month on record was this past January. There were more than 80 breaks throughout that month.