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7/8/2018 4:40:00 PM
Aging water mains reaching breaking point in Fort Wayne

Rosa Salter Rodriguez, Journal Gazette

Fort Wayne's water officials can tell you where aging water mains will be replaced in the five-year plan to update the city's water system approved by City Council last month.

What the officials can't tell you – yet – is exactly when. 

But mains in 25 neighborhoods and intersections around the city are being replaced, based on the history of water main breaks in those areas, officials say.

Areas where breaks have been numerous and have increased in frequency in recent months are getting priority. Several neighborhoods on the replacement list have more than 100 breaks in the past few years, said Matt Wirtz, deputy director of City Utilities.

City workers now deal with more than 300 breaks a year, said Kumar Menon, director of City Utilities; about 4,000 since 2010, statistics show. That's up from just under 700 breaks in all of the 1970s, when only 1 percent of the city's mains were past their expected useful lifespan.

Since 2010, more than 20 percent of mains – or 1 in 5 – have aged out. In mid-June, when Menon presented the plan to the City Council, he said crews had fixed 26 breaks in the past 10 days and 17 in the past five.

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