To continue delivering high quality drinking water and natural gas to you, the District must maintain a secure, reliable infrastructure system. In 2008, we started an Infrastructure Replacement Program to focus more on replacing aging infrastructure.
In 2014, crews replaced 39 miles of natural gas and water mains. Within the next 14 years, the District plans to replace approximately 415 miles of cast iron gas mains, and over the next decades will replace more than 1,200 miles of cast iron water mains.
Over the last decade, 95-percent of water main breaks and 75-percent of gas main leaks have occurred on cast iron mains. In the 1970s, we stopped installing cast iron water mains and began using ductile iron pipes for water and plastic pipes for natural gas.
Infrastructure projects are funded through Gas and Water Infrastructure Rates paid through your monthly bill. In 2014, the District spent $19.8 million to improve infrastructure and replace older cast iron gas and water mains. Infrastructure fees will fund approximately $28.6 million of improvements in 2015. Whenever possible, projects are done in conjunction with the City’s combined sewer separation work to save money and minimize inconvenience to our customers.
Our goal is to continue increasing the miles of mains replaced each year, while maintaining reliable gas and water service. It’s already paying off in safety and costs. Here are just a few statistics about why the Infrastructure Replacement Program is important:
- An average 700 water main breaks occur in the U.S. every day. In 2014, the Omaha metro area had 487 breaks. We’ve had 117 water main breaks through March 31st so far this year.
- Every year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the estimated price tag for repairing the nation’s water infrastructure rises. The best guess at a total cost over the next 20 years has climbed from about $198 billion in 1999 to the latest estimate — $335 billion.
- A study by the American Water Works Association of 20 large and medium-sized utilities suggests that by 2030, the average utility will spend about three-and-a-half times as much on pipe replacement as it does today.
Want to know the locations of the latest Infrastructure Replacement work and how it may affect your neighborhood? Visit our Infrastructure Projects.