June 22, 2008

Fewer Leaking Water Lines on Butte Hill

By Justin Post, The Montana Standard, Butte

Jun. 22--he city-county has tracked the number of leaking water lines to determine whether the replacement program has been effective.

Dan Dennehy, of the county's public works department, said 126 leaks were reported in 2000 in the Uptown area, and that number steadily declined each year as a result of water main replacements.

In 2007, he said the number of leaks dropped to 51.

In comparison, 201 leaks were reported on the Flat in 2000. That number dropped to 155 in 2002, but rose to 232 in 2006 and hit 215 leaks last year.

"The more work we do in replacing lines Uptown, the less leaks we have," Dennehy said. "We are trying to do the same thing with our crews" on the Flat.

Approximately 55 percent of Butte's old distribution lines are thin-walled lined steel pipe installed in the late 1880s and early 1900s.

About 28 miles of the city's distribution lines are less than 4 inches in diameter.

"It's been reported that residents connected to these undersized mains have virtually no water during peak irrigation during the summer," Dennehy said.

That will change as the old corroded piping -- including some wooden lines -- are replaced each year.

Work is underway on Pennsylvania Avenue behind the federal building and several other projects are slated to begin in the next week.

Those include West Quartz in the 1000 and 900 blocks, Washington Street between Iron and Tecumseh streets and Tecumseh from Washington to Montana streets.

Reporter Justin Post may be reached via e-mail at [email protected]


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