Tulsa, Okla. - The City of Tulsa called a meeting with the media Monday afternoon to address the multiple water line breaks.
The Director of the Water and Sewer Department Clayton Edwards says while the number of water line breaks is trending above average, it’s nothing unusual. Edwards told KRMG the city has seen similar situations during previous winters and even summers.
Edwards praised the city employees who are working in the cold, wet conditions to repair broken water lines.
Edwards says, “We have employees that will stand in water up to their knees [to repair a break]. I can’t say enough about our employees.”
The City of Tulsa has plans in place to study the water distribution system and over the next five years plans to spend around $60 million to replace the old, outdated pipes.
Many of the pipes have been in place since the 1940s or 1950s.
Of the 2,300 miles of water lines in Tulsa, 1,000 of them are still the old cast-iron material. New pipes that are going in are made of PVC or ductile-iron, which has a much longer lifespan than cast-iron.
With the current surge of water line breaks, city crews have been working 10-hour days, six days a week to keep up with repairs. In fact, over the weekend, the city was so overwhelmed with breaks, they called in a contractor to repair some of them.