April 3, 2019 - We’ve all experienced it. We drive down a street and it’s closed because of a water main break. It’s frustrating for motorists and even more frustrating for home and business owners impacted by a main break.

That’s certainly been the case for businesses and homes along North Clinton Street. Pipes between Grove Street, Edgewood Avenue and Livingston Avenue have experienced more than 40 breaks, with seven occurring last year.

Throughout the nation, water and sewer infrastructure is aging and needs upgrades. That’s why City Utilities is moving forward to replace a record amount of water main pipe in 2019. Over the next five years City Utilities plans to replace 14 miles of aging water main, each year, in neighborhoods with a high number of breaks or that has been identified as being vulnerable to breaking because of age or material. 

“Investing in neighborhood infrastructure, even beyond our streets and sidewalks, is critical to the current and future success of our City,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “Water main replacement is not something we can ignore and that’s why we’re moving forward with an aggressive plan to replace water mains.”

For the Turnstone Center for Children and Adults, main breaks interrupt services for clients and have had a tremendous impact on North Clinton near Turnstone. The facility keeps a busy schedule with more than 3,600 clients and as host of more than 40 sporting and social events each year. Turnstone officials are glad to see nearby cast iron pipes, dating back to 1920, replaced.

"Providing exceptional and safe programming for all of our clients is imperative to our mission, which largely relies on uninterrupted access to clean water. Without clean water, we cannot open our facility to our clients and interruption to water service forces us to send clients home for their safety and the safety of our staff. The replacement of our water main will help us better serve our clients and the community,” said Colin Lyman, Director of Facilities for Turnstone.

Since 2000, just nearly 95 miles of vulnerable water mains have been replaced. A significant portion of those were replaced in the last five years when City Utilities made a commitment to aim for an average of nine miles of new water pipe each year. Over the next five years City Utilities will replace pipes in neighborhoods with frequent breaks. The goal is to replace 14 miles per year.

“Last year, we had more than 250 breaks, the lowest it’s been in eight years. So our efforts are reducing the number of breaks. But 250 is still too many and that’s why we are moving forward with a plan to increase the amount of new pipe placed in the ground,” said Kumar Menon, Director of City Utilities. 

Some 100-year old mains still function well. However, some of the cast iron mains installed between 1940 and 1970 have lots of main breaks. Age of the pipe is not the only factor that determines when a pipe should be replaced.  

Our Geographic Information System (GIS) tracks and analyzes all 1,403 miles of water main in our system and aids in identifying those pipes that are most vulnerable. About 25% of those mains – or 355 miles – have deteriorated to a point where they have exceeded their useful life and should be replaced.  

The water main on North Clinton will be replaced in two phases.  Phase one will begin later this month and will include work on North Clinton Street Grove and Edgewood, on Lima Road from North Clinton to Edgewood, and on Edgewood from Lima to Figel Avenue. 

In June Turnstone is hosting the International Qualifier for Goalball and Judo. In order to accommodate this important event, City Utilities will delay the start of Phase II, which will involve pipe replacement on North Clinton from the point where Lima Road branches off to the northeast all the way to the point where Clinton and Coldwater Road split.

"We are thankful for the city's significant investment in replacing water mains and particularly the water main that services Turnstone. The City of Fort Wayne has communicated with us to ensure there will be no disruption of service to the programming, services, and events held at Turnstone and we are grateful for their efforts," said Lyman.

Phase two will include North Clinton from Penn Avenue to Ridgewood Drive, and the remainder of Edgewood to where it becomes North Clinton again. That phase will begin after the International Qualifier. 

Today’s Water Facts

  • Brushing your teeth with the tap running uses 2 gallons of water. 
  • 6 billion people around the world have access to a cell phone. Only 4.5 billion people around the world have access to working toilets.
  • A swimming pool naturally loses about 1,000 gallons a month to evaporation.