OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — There were almost 500 water main breaks in 2018 according to MUD. Last January, MUD saw a spike in water main breaks across the metro. They said the breaks were from old brittle pipe.
MUD expected to replace nearly 1200 miles of cast iron infrastructure.
Masa Niiya, senior infrastructure design engineer for MUD said it is common for water mains to break in the cold winter months. As the pipes burst they get temporarily repaired. Niiya said the brittle pipes are slowly getting replaced. Last year, they replaced about seven miles and this year they expect to replace 10.
"We've got a little less than 1200 miles of cast-iron water mains, although that's not the only mains that need replacement, every main that goes in the ground today, we're gonna have to replace in the future, we're designing towards a 100 year life for the pipe," said Niiya. He added pipes will need to be replaced forever. MUD expects to replace up to 30 miles of water main pipe each year in the future.
Water pipes in Omaha are buried below the frost line so replacing the brittle pipe is a slow moving process. MUD is looking at different methods for installing new pipe and different replacement materials to make the process quicker.