Corrosion causes Rifle water main line breaks |

Corrosion causes Rifle water main line breaks

John Dyer/Contributed Photo
Staff Photo |

Two breaks on an 18-inch city of Rifle water main line in two days last week left many residents and businesses in the northern part of the city without water while repairs were made. Residents across the city were also asked to curtail outside water use and limit indoor water use.

Utilities Director Dick Deussen said Monday, May 20, that the first break occurred Thursday on Acacia Avenue. It was discovered at approximately 6:30 p.m. and was repaired late that night.

The second break, at East 26th Street and Meadow Circle, happened sometime after the water line was recharged with water. It was discovered Friday morning and was repaired around 4 p.m., Deussen said.

The main line delivers water from the city’s 3 million gallon storage tank, and the pipe is 30-35 years old, Deussen said.

“There was a hole caused by corrosion,” he said. “It’s a [30- to 35-year-old] metal pipe that’s unprotected, so the water just eroded it through.”

Since the water flows fast through the line, Deussen estimated around 60 to 90 pounds of pressure put stress on the line as well.

However, a new water main line is not included in the city’s $25 million water treatment plant project soon to begin, Deussen added.

A major break occurred on the same pipeline about two years ago that required the temporary diversions of Rifle Creek so repairs could be made, he recalled. That break took about two weeks to repair.

Deussen said the two breaks likely cost the city no more than $6,000, since public works crews did the repairs. That does not include any overtime costs, which vary due to some workers possibly taking compensatory time off, he added.

During both breaks, residents were asked to not water their lawns and gardens to help reduce demand on the system, as well as to limit indoor water use, via the Garfield County Emergency Communications Center’s Reverse 911 system that placed calls to all available phone numbers. Email and text messages were also sent to registered users. Calls were made and messages were sent on both Thursday night and Friday morning. The same system was used to let residents know repairs were made Friday afternoon and they could resume regular water use.

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