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‘Age can be a factor’: Some question dated water pipes after massive line break

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 5:29 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Water in the City of Charlotte is back to normal and residents no longer need to boil their water before consuming it.

A Boil Water notice was in effect for more than 24 hours after a huge pipe burst in South Charlotte on Remount Road. It was first installed in 1955.

That pipe and its system will now be assessed and repaired as needed according to Charlotte Water. But it’s causing some to take a further look at possible aging infrastructure in the city, especially as it grows.

On South Boulevard, there’s a massive water project replacing nearly the entire system to address aging pipes and more people moving into the area.

That project is just one mile down the road from where the pipe burst on Monday.

“It was a tough time for me short term. I know it was best for the city,” said Tommy Koutsokalis, owner of Greystone Pub on South Blvd. “It’s hard when there’s nothing you can do and the city doesn’t help with you. Your hands are tied behind your back.”

For months, South Boulevard in SouthEnd has been covered in orange cones.

It’s a Charlotte Water project replacing a majority of water pipes to address the “aging systems in growing South End.” The construction has impacted businesses along South Boulevard.

Then, this Monday, businesses, like Greystone Pub, were forced to close after losing their water because of a massive pipe burst. The pipe that failed is 66 years old.

“When we put something in the ground, we say if it lasts 30 to 50 years, it’s doing well. We’re not sure if age was the cause but age can be a factor,” said Charlotte Water director, Angela Charles.

The cause is still being determined according to Charlotte Water. But just one mile down the road, aging pipes are being replaced.

“The biggest impact is the periodic water contamination or the lack of water,” said Michael Hanszen, who’s a maintenance manager for an apartment building in South End.

He says the South Blvd project has caused him problems at work.

“There’s been 5 times so far that our building has been shut off from water. Or brown sludge comes out,” he said.

He says he’s hopeful Charlotte Water will fix and replace pipes that need it, like they’re doing on South Blvd, and is hopeful there won’t be any other big issues.

“A lot of the projects that are going on are to update old systems. This isn’t exactly a new city. It makes sense that a lot of the piping and infrastructure is worn out,” he said.

The Charlotte Water director says the next steps are to assess the pipe that broke and then check out other sections of the pipe, to see if they need to be replaced as well.

Charlotte Water says age is a factor, but not the only factor when they determine what pipes need to be replaced.

Charlotte Water has some cast iron pipes from the 20′s and 30′s that are continuing to perform well so age is not the only factor in determining which pipes need to be replaced.

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