Water Main Break Floods Downtown Block

Water Main Break Floods Downtown Block


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Alex Cabrero Reporting"Whenever you have your first hard freeze, you get a little bit of ground movement, and if the ground freezes and moves, it's probably gonna break a few pipes."

A few pipes did break in Salt Lake City today. The cold temperatures tested even the strongest of water lines. In fact, at least six water lines broke, the result of the freeze.

Water Main Break Floods Downtown Block

The biggest break was at 1st South and 2nd East, where crews will have to make lots of repairs. It took a while, but crews were able to get the water shut off.

This particular pipe was installed in 1908. It sounds old, but it's actually quite common. Most of the water pipes throughout that part of Salt Lake City are about 100 years old.

With sights like these, Utah's drought seems long gone. Just like the drought, though, this water is a problem, especially in freezing temperatures.

Dennis Holland: "We've had the salt trucks come up and salt the road."

Crews had to, after an underground pipe broke sending water everywhere.

Mark Stanley: "Some of our mains are a little more brittle than others."

Water Main Break Floods Downtown Block

That's understandable, but what a lot of people may not know is that plenty of the pipes throughout Salt Lake have been in place for a long time.

Mark Stanley, Salt Lake City Public Utilities: "We have some pipes up in the Avenues area and around here and central Salt Lake downtown area that are pre-1900's."

It made us ask, just how up to the task are these old pipes?

Mark Stanley: "One thing that we do find interesting is that a lot of these older mains in this area are in good shape, are in excellent shape."

Every year Salt Lake replaces one-percent of the water lines. Another one off 12th East and 1st South also broken today and will get immediate attention. Don't worry about fire protection though, fire crews carry maps of fire hydrants and water lines, just in case.

Scott Freitag, Salt Lake City Fire Dept.: "Salt Lake City fire rarely runs into any problems with broken water lines or a broken water main like there was today."

So even with 100-year old lines, which you can see just by the look of the one off 1st South and 2nd East, the source of today's big problem, public utilities feel confident there's not a bigger issue just under the surface.

Mark Stanley: "Obviously it costs money to maintain the system, but we feel pretty good about it."

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