ODESSA, Tx. (KOSA) – It’s been five days since a water main break leaving thousands with little or no water and we still don’t know how long it will be until faucets run freely again.
CBS7 spoke to the City of Odessa’s utility department who said they’re working as quick as they can to fix the pipe, but this break turned out to be a fairly complicated project.
The city said waterline breaks aren’t exactly unheard of.
They come up time and again as pipes built back in the 1970s eventually corrode, burst and are soon fixed.
“The older our systems get, the more common this type of thing will be,” City of Odessa Public Works Director Thomas Kerr said.
But why has this one taken all week?
Well, for starters it’s not your average pipeline.
This is a 24” cement pipe encasing a thin steel cylinder, a sensitive pipe that required the handiwork of specialist welders from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The city considered using local welders, but it’s such a technical job they decided to go with specialists with more experience.
On top of that, the pipe has a precarious surrounding.
“We have a high-pressure gas line on one side of us,” Kerr said. “We have a fiber optic cable on the other side of the ditch. We have two locations where 14,400-volt power lines come across us.”
Even despite those additional headaches, the city first thought they could have it done by Tuesday evening until they found out the problem was bigger than break itself.
“Its corrosion has traveled on down the pipeline, much further than we would have anticipated,” Kerr said. “The specialist came in and they identified that to us. So, we had to fall back and take care of more pipe.”
Bad news that’s frustrated the 25,000 people who have little water flowing through their homes and now have to boil what they do have to make sure its safe to drink.
“We are sorry that it happened but if they’ll just bear with us and conserve the water, they will have ample water flow in a few days,” Ector County Utility District Board Member Terry Swann said.
Of course, the city couldn’t promise how many days it will take to resolve this, and they also explained to me that even when the break is fixed, that’s not the end of the story.
It will still take a few days on top of that to test the water quality and call of the boil notice, so please keep boiling your water until that time.