Water Company Unsure if Second Main Break Related to First, New Inspection Program Forthcoming

by Gabe Bullard on August 12, 2011

The Louisville Water Company isn’t sure whether last night’s water main break is related to a rupture four weeks earlier.

The 48-inch pipe that burst at Eastern Parkway and Crittenden Drive this week is a different section of the same pipe that broke last month at Floyd and Warnock streets.

The first break has been repaired, and at the time of the second break, crews were still returning pressure to the main. When pipes lose then regain pressure, existing but unnoticed weaknesses can worsen.

“If it’s related, we don’t know,” says water company spokeswoman Kelley Dearing-Smith. “But when you have a break like you did in July with that tremendous loss of pressure, there could be follow-up problems or incidents that you just don’t know about until something happens.”

Pipes are regularly inspected, but the company hopes to update its methods this year with a new pilot program.

“We actually have a program that we’re piloting this fall that’s going to allow us to inspect transmission mains while they’re still under pressure, while they’re still providing water,” says Dearing-Smith. “It’s a new technology that we’re really excited about and we’re hoping to implement it, I believe, in September.”

The new system was planned before the water main break.

There is still a boil advisory in effect for customers near the broken main. Check here for the map.

Update: The water company has released a statement outlining infrastructure inspections and improvements:

a. Since 1992, Louisville Water has committed up to $10 million a year to replace and rehabilitate water
mains.
b. In 2010, we implemented new technology that allows us to identify potential issues with transmission
mains (the larger pipes in our system) using remote sensing technology, a robot of sorts that moves
through the pipe.   Our efforts began with pre‐stressed concrete transmission main and the sensors look
for problems with wires that give the pipe its strength. We’re investing approximately $15 million over the
next 10 years to inspect over 100 miles of main.
c. We just completed a research project with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to evaluate new
technology for inspecting transmission mains.
d. This fall, we will implement new technology to inspect a large transmission main while it is filled with
water.   We will pilot the program on a 60” transmission main.

Comments Closed

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: