Colorado Springs

Managing aging water pipes in Colorado Springs – Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado Springs, Colorado 2021-08-04 08:43:09 –

Colorado Springs — Multiple water mains rest just a few days apart from each other. The biggest has closed most of the gardens of the gods for a few days, but can this kind of inconvenience be avoided in the first place, and how well is the infrastructure of our city maintained? News5 delves into the answer.

Along the Garden of the Gods Road below the street, there is a 24-inch power line installed in the 1950s. According to experts, the recent breakage of water mains in the area was not a pipe failure, but a newly installed connection. The pipe that failed.

For many, the underground infrastructure of the city is invisible, but the high water pressure caused by the hills and different soil types in our area can damage the system.

“Here’s an example of external corrosion. It’s rust in nature, and as the walls get older, the pipes get rusted, holes form over time, and leaks occur,” Colorado Springs said. Stated. Utility project engineer Tara McGowan. “This is an example of internal corrosion. This is where there is an unlined pipe and the inside of the pipe corrodes.”

McGowan looks at the map of the pipes below the streets of the city and updates it daily. This is part of her mission as she is committed to actively managing the city’s 2,100-mile water distribution system.

“So we do our best to find the bad pipe and get rid of it, and the pipe that is still in good shape protects it in place,” McGowan said.

The utility crew does not have to tear the street to do this. They drop the wireless camera into a 12-18 inch pre-cut hole in the road and perform a visual assessment of the pipe. Then use another tool to check the thickness of the pipe using something similar to ultrasound. When everything is checked out, the crew adds so-called cathodic protection to extend the life of the pipe.

“This loses the metal, not the pipe. This protects the pipe from the ground and allows it to be installed through its holes. It is usually installed for 25 years,” McGowan said at work. increase. site.

Frigid weather can cause frost on the ground and stress urban pipes, according to experts, but during storms the soil absorbs water and expands, squeezing the pipes even during the summer. And may break.

The city of Colorado Springs has 500 miles of pipes over 50 years ago, but old pipes aren’t always a problem, as witnessed during a break in the Garden of the Gods Road water mains.

Andrew Cripe and his team are using high-tech tools and listening devices to try to detect leaky pipes.

“It’s an acoustic microphone that you hear directly on the pipe. You can actually hear it directly through the ground,” said Cripe, who leads Colorado Springs Utility’s leak detection efforts.

Investigators use water quality test kits in the field and tell News5 that the problems they see are often related to groundwater rather than pipe leaks.

Studies show that Colorado Springs has a leak rate of 13 times per 100 miles per year, and experts say the goal is to stay below 15.
Utility leaders say it’s not a city-wide infrastructure issue, even if there are some big breaks this year.

Earl Wilkinson, Chief Water Compliance and Innovation Officer, Colorado Springs Utility, said: ..

Repairs have been made to fix the problem along the path of the Garden of the Gods. News5 reports that the crew will need to work further along the corridors near Forge and Chestnut to inspect similar connections to prevent future problems.

If you want to dig deeper into Colorado Springs Utility, check out our 2021 Annual Operational and Financial Plan.

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