By Marissa Armas

DENVER (CBS4) – A 100-year-old pipe bursting in Denver wreaked havoc for several residents in the Berkley neighborhood on Sunday.

(credit: CBS)

“My whole backyard was completely full as a lake, and it was flowing, and it was continuing to flow,” said Stacy Bramer, whose home was flooded.

Travis Thompson, a Denver Water spokesperson said the broken pipe is from the 1920s, and with more than 3,000 miles of pipe in the city, it’s a challenge to replace them.

“We try to prioritize things,” Thompson said. “But to replace a pipe, there’s a big inconvenience to a neighborhood.”

Water resource management expert and retired Metro State University of Denver administrator Tom Cech said not only is aging infrastructure a likely culprit of Sunday’s water line break, but also weather changes can play a huge part in causing pipelines to burst.

(credit: CBS)

“It’s not an uncommon occurrence and it’s something that happens this time of year,” said Cech. “Last week we broke temperature records in Denver. The soils move, especially if they’re clay and you get breakage from corroded pipes, or old pipes.”

Cech said many of Denver’s buried pipes are around a century old, and it’s not unusual to have pipes last that long.

“Depending on the type of material in that pipe, they can last anywhere from 50 years to over 100 years… metal tends to corrode,” he said.

The biggest issue Denver Water is facing to replace outdated pipes is cost. Cech said it’s also hard for them to determine which lines should be prioritized.

(credit: CBS)

“Some of the replacement is a matter of luck in terms of are you replacing the length of pipe that’s deteriorating the worst?” said Cech. “There’s a lot of pipes that need to be replaced, where do you start?

Denver water has been replacing about 20 miles of pipe per year.

Marissa Armas