SPECIAL REPORT: Big Spring Winter Water Lines

SPECIAL REPORT: Big Spring Winter Water Lines

BIG SPRING, TX (KWES) - Water breaks in Big Spring are a hot topic, and with winter on the way, the chances of pipes bursting are even greater.

"Winter is always a problem," said Public Works Director, Johnny Womack. "We have a lot of rock and as soon as it starts getting cold, and the ground starts expanding, you seem to have more problems than in the late fall or early spring."

Womack says the pipes were installed between the 1940's and 1970's. So with pipes about 45 years old, some breaks should be expected and the city is hard at work replacing the old cast iron pipe with PVC.

"Of 177 miles of pipe, you've got at least 100 miles of metal pipe still in the system," Womack said. "It'll still take time to replace it but we will get it done."

This year, the city has spent about $1 million on water line costs. The city is still planning projects for the water lines.

"We've done a lot of projects, we've got a lot more planned in this coming year," Womack said.

As for funding for the projects, it is all part of the budget.

"Last year, we budgeted $750,000 for water lines, $250,000 for sewer lines. This year, we're budgeting $1.5 million," said Womack.

Big Spring Mayor Larry McLellan says the breaks are an overwhelming and expensive issue. One that may have to be funded through the use of a bond that would take care of inflation.

"I don't know if we'll see the price of material and labor go down a lot so the good thing about a bond is it takes care of business at today's prices," said McLellan.

To put everything in perspective, about four city blocks will set Big Spring back $1 million.

"It's an expensive problem," said McLellan. "It's a major problem and it's one that's going to continue until we can address it to the point where we can at least get identified the major portions we can address the money we have."

Water main breaks are inevitable, so city workers continue to work diligently on a problem that has been around for years.

"Well, it's part of the job but I'm very confident we're going to keep going and keep people inconvenienced as little as possible," Womack said.