City of Amarillo: We have a plan in place

The City of Amarillo has faced two high profile water main breaks in less than one month, the latest at 45th Avenue west of I-27.

A nearly $2.5 million budget is what the City of Amarillo is working with when it comes to the city's aging underground water system.

Although city officials agree the aging system may contribute to some of the recent breaks in town, "It's not really a matter of how long is this pipe going to last, it becomes a question of is when is this pipe going to break," Assistant Director of Utilities Tim Loan said.

Loan said they city has spent nearly $1 million this year from the budget, and that the city is committed to spending what remains on water system improvements.

In just the last the month the city has faced two high profile main water breaks, but according to Loan it's not unusual.

"We have main breaks that occur every day," Loan said. "Sometimes they are in back alleys where you can't see them, or at places like the Civic Center."

The first break cost the city $250,000, while the second break that occurred Saturday on 45th Avenue just west of I-27 is still in question.

"It was a main 12-inch cast iron line, but it caused the amount of damage we would expect for its size," Bruce Walterscheid said. "We need get these older mains replaced overtime, but it's very costly to do that."

According to Loan many main lines in the Northeast part of town have been replaced in recent years, though a structured plan remains in question.

"We have a list of areas we need to look at, but that list is constantly changing" Loan said. "I can't randomly just say 'I think I will move this one up the list today in hopes that I will avoid a water main break.'''