In her July 9 City of Watertown “Weekly Roundup” on Watertown Community Cable, Watertown Mayor Emily McFarland said it may seem there has been an increase in city water main breaks.
“We have an incredibly old infrastructure underground,” McFarland said. “We have water mains in this community that are from the turn of the century. We’re talking about water mains from the 1900s.”
Watertown Water/Wastewater Assistant Manager Joe Lehner said there have been seven confirmed leaks since April 1.
“Because of that aged infrastructure we do have water main breaks,” McFarland said. “It’s just going to happen.”
She said the reason city crews and residents have seen more of them in the past two months is because of hydrant flushing. McFarland said the hydrant flushing will cause “upticks and downticks” in the pressure inside the main and cause a break.
“Also, some of the fires we’ve had required us to open hydrants and opening those hydrants increases the pressure inside the main and then those mains break,” McFarland said.
She said the city is “proactively” replacing about one and a half miles of water main each year.
“In some years, we try to aim a little higher,” McFarland said. “We use the age, quantity of breaks and other construction that is happening throughout the city as our criteria on which water mains to repair.”
Watertown Water/Wastewater Manager Pete Hartz said the average cost for a main break is $1,800 each, but the cost varies.
“There are no two leaks alike,” Hartz said.