DENVER (CBS4) – Two high-profile water main breaks in the last two weeks highlighted Denver’s always-aging water infrastructure.
On Aug. 16, a broken 12-inch main postponed the Colorado Rockies game against the Cincinnati Reds because no water was provided to Coors Field’s restrooms. Repair work took approximately eight hours.
On Aug. 21, another foot-wide main burst on Colorado Boulevard north of Interstate 25, closing southbound lanes until early the next morning.
Very public breaks aside, the number of busted mains in July were actually down compared to the same time last year. Twenty-three mains broke last month, and hundreds break each year.
Denver Water spends $11 million to replace roughly 20 miles of pipes annually. Some of the pipes in the city’s water system are more than 100 years old. Approximately 3,000 miles of pipe run throughout the city.
While Denver Water can’t predict the next big break, they can minimize the number of times they break.
“We look at the areas the pipes are in and we look at what type of impact it will have if does break. That is a factor that goes into our replacement-rehabilitation program. Obviously, we can’t get every single pipe. If we did that, we would be tearing up the entire city,” Tom Roode with Denver Water said.