THE BRUTAL WINTER HAS ALSO BATTERED WATER SYSTEMS
THROUGHOUT THE AREA.
-- ERIC --
FOR EXAMPLE, THERE WERE MORE WATER MAIN BREAKS IN
MADISON LAST YEAR THAN HAD EVER BEEN RECORDED BY THE
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER ADAM SCHRAGER, IS LIVE ON
THE WEST SIDE WITH MORE ON WHAT THAT MEANS FOR YOUR
WATER BILL IN THE FUTURE.
IT MEANS YOUR BILLS WILL BE GOING THE WAY OF OUR SNOW
WE'RE ON MINERAL POINT ROAD TONIGHT WHERE LAST MONTH
THERE WAS A WATER MAIN BREAK.
THE PIPE THAT BURST WAS A SPUN CAST IRON PIPE LIKE
YOU CAN FIND IT UNDERNEATH MUCH OF THE CITY.
AND IT'S GOING TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU PAYING MORE
IN THE NEAR FUTURE.
TAKE A DRIVE ALONG MADISON'S MAJOR AVENUE...
nat: It's a difficult situation to perceive.
It's buried under ground.
You can't see it.
It's worked for decades.
AND THERE'S NO REASON TO THINK OF THE MAJOR PROBLEM
READY TO BURST UNDER GROUND...
nat: Until you actually see the problem, it's hard
to realize that a problem could be there, just kind
of ticking and waiting for its opportunity to present
THAT OPPORTUNITY HAS PRESENTED ITSELF A RECORD NUMBER
OF TIMES THIS WINTER...
WATER main breaks
AJS: MORE THAN 300 TIMES, MADISON WATER MAINS HAVE
It's a challenge to fix because it's expensive...
AJS: AND WATER ENGINEER ADAM WEE-DER-HAFE-TT SAYS
MORE ARE FORTHCOMING.
Adam: These cold conditions really emphasize the
fact that there's a lot of pipe in our system that's
in bad need of a replacement.
AJS: THE CITY'S WATER UTILITY BEGAN BUILDING OUT IN
BUT IT WAS NOT UNTIL THE 1930S, 40S AND 50S THAT MADISON'S
CURRENT FATE WAS CAST IN IRON...
Adam: This is a typical example of a cast iron water
AJS: THERE ARE 400 MILES OF IT IN THE CITY.
Adam: That's over half of our water system.
AJS: THE YEARS AND CONDITIONS HAVE MADE IT BRITTLE
AND NOW, CREWS ARE IN A RACE AGAINST TIME TO REPLACE
Adam: I think that's a fair characterization.
Tom: It's everywhere that the city was growing in
the post war period..
AJS: TOM HEIKKINEN MET US AT THE 1939 WELL NUMBER
7 WITH ITS R2-D2 LOOKING PUMP THAT HE OVERSEES FOR
Tom: We've been able to rest on our laurels for so
many years because the system's been doing fine, but
it does age over time and we're in that rebuilding
AJS: THE SPECIFIC AREAS IN QUESTION ARE ON THE NEAR
EAST SIDE UNDER ROADS LIKE DROSTER...
Adam: It shows a deteriorated worn pipe surface
AJS: AND ON THE NEAR WEST SIDE UNDER ROADS LIKE MIFFLIN.
THE WATER UTILITY'S OWN CAMERAS TELL THE STORY...
Adam: It shows it's definitely in need of some renewal...
AJS: THAT RENEWAL COSTS MONEY.
Tom: Nothing lasts forever...
AJS: ONE MILLION DOLLARS PER MILE TO REPLACE A WATER
Tom: This does have to be paid for and we need to
raise rates to do that.
AJS: UNTIL THEN, THE WATER WILL LIKELY RISE TO THE
SURFACE AGAIN NEXT WINTER.
A MAJOR PROBLEM IN PLACES LIKE MAJOR AVENUE.
Adam : We have a lot of areas in the city where we
can anticipate and expect to see main breaks.
THE HOPE WAS THAT THIS PIPE WOULD LAST A HUNDRED YEARS
LIKE THE STUFF THEY'RE PUTTING IN NOW.
THE ANALOGY I'VE USED IS WE KNOW WHAT ELVIS LOOKED
LIKE IN THE 50'S, WE SAW A DETERIORATION IN THE 70'S.
IMAGINE WHAT ELVIS MIGHT LOOK LIKE TODAY.
AND YOU UNDERSTAND WHY THIS PIPE NEEDS TO BE REPLACED.
MADISON'S WATER UTILITY IS PLANNING A NINE PERCENT
RATE HIKE EACH YEAR OVER THE NEXT SEVERL YEARS.
IT WILL NEED TO BE APPROVED BY THE PUBLIC SERVICE
-- ERIC --
ADAM SCHRAGER, THANKS.