Ruptured water line fixed, but aging infrastructure could still plague Glenwood Springs |

Ruptured water line fixed, but aging infrastructure could still plague Glenwood Springs

City employees assess a cracked pipe causing a water main break under Red Mountain Drive on Wednesday. The city of Glenwood Springs told residents to stop all "non-essential" water usage for at least 24 hours.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

The cost to fix a raw water supply line that ruptured Wednesday was minimal, but not insignificant as city revenues decline amid a pandemic economy, Mayor Jonathan Godes said.

A citywide water restriction lifted early Thursday evening after crews worked late to fix the rupture on Red Mountain Drive at a cost of about $25,000, a news release said.

“We’re looking for every penny and $25,000 at a point when our sales tax revenue is down by more than 30 percent is a tough pill to swallow,” Godes said. “The being said, $25,000 versus what it could have been is something we’re feeling pretty lucky about.” 

Around noon Wednesday, the city issued an emergency alert notifying residents and businesses that they needed to immediately cease all non-essential water usage. The alert was in response to a burst raw water supply line, which feeds into the water treatment plant to be treated, then distributed to the city’s more than 3,600 water system users.

When the line burst, the water treatment plant was drained and users were left with only about 5 million gallons of potable water in the plant’s reserve tanks to last until repairs were completed. 

Coming to the city’s aid, Eagle Water and Sanitation District provided pipe fittings for the approximately 50-year-old, ductile iron water line, and Glenwood Hot Springs pool provided repair crews with a section of new pipe, the news release said.

A crew of about 15 people worked until 2 a.m. Thursday morning to ensure repairs were completed within a 24-hour window.

Water restrictions lifted at 5 p.m. Thursday.

Additionally, Red Mountain Drive was damaged in the burst and closed to traffic during repairs, but is now reopened.

The city attributed the burst line to aging infrastructure, but Godes said the City Council probably wouldn’t add a new infrastructure topic to its agenda anytime soon.

“There’s nothing we can do,” he said. “As most citizens of Glenwood Springs know, we have a historical community that has historical infrastructure that needs a significant investment.”

Previous attempts at funding an infrastructure investment, such as a street tax proposal put to voters in 2019, have been shot down. 

“Wednesday’s incident was a symptom of our infrastructure lacking the modern safeguards we’d all like to have,” Godes said.

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