LIMA — A water main break between Wednesday night and 5 a.m. Thursday created a big mess on Kibby Street.
“This is a 16-inch water main and it split, like a 2-inch split, and it ran almost 14 feet long,” said Michael Caprella, Lima utilities director.
The city isn’t certain what caused the rupture, but old age is always a consideration. There are many water lines in Lima that are well over 100 years old, and the water lines on Kibby Street are older cast iron pipes, Caprella said.
“This could be a fluke or, who knows, sometimes you have a little bit of corrosive soil and it can eat a little bit into the pipe,” he said.
Caprella estimated more than 1 million gallons of water flooded Kibby Street.
When small breaks occur on water lines, crews dig up the section and a repair clamp is put into place. Because of the size of the break on Kibby, the water line will be dug up, the damaged section cut away and an entirely new section of pipe will replace it, Caprella said. This will affect traffic.
Predicting and preventing breaks in water lines is more difficult than doing so with sewer lines, Caprella said.
“Sewer pipe is really easy to run cameras through because it’s not pressurized and a lot of times there’s just no flow in it,” he said. “You pretty much have to check the (water line) from the outside. Water lines are pressurized. To get a camera in, you have to almost depressurize it and get a hole in the pipe to get a camera in.”
Sonic technology can be used to measure the thickness of pipes, but that requires excavation, Caprella said.
The city will be doing an asset management plan for the water system near the end of the year. While working on the plan, patterns in line breaks will be examined to find locations in Lima where leaks have occurred frequently, indicating the need for replacement.
The city at that point would need to gauge the need against the budget and how to maintain water to residents while it’s being serviced.
Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362