Are sections of Asheville's 130 year old water distribution system at risk of a catastrophic failure? Although it is possible it is highly unlikely.
I have received several inquiries in response to a post from a couple weeks ago so it seems a follow up would be appropriate. The chronic water main leak that was the topic of my blog post seems to have raised some concerns about the condition of the system. The attached video is of my most recent inspection on February 19, 2010.
As reported in my initial post this leak has been reoccurring over at least a six year period that I have been aware of it. At times the leak has been significantly greater than its current rate of approximately 200,000 gallons per year. As you can see in the video it has leaked aggressively enough and long enough to have eroded away a section of the earthen bank and large root structure of a tree directly in the spray path of the leak.
This is by no means a unique condition. The probability of water distribution infrastructure failure is a growing concern throughout the country. I can assure that this leak in the Swannanoa valley is not the only one on
This past fall I had an opportunity to visit with Mayor Bellamy while attending the grand opening celebration of the
Repairing the leak in Swannanoa would be quite an undertaking to say the least. I'd like to think this leak will be corrected in the near future, but after six years of monitoring, it doesn't seem to be a priority. I hope it doesn't take a catastrophic failure to become one.
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