For city's water main breaks, the proof is in the puddles

September 2, 2011 5:02:01 PM PDT
The drought and heat are putting pressure on the city's water pipes. We told you Thursday there are close to 1,000 lines broken and leaking, and according to city documents, some have been gushing for weeks.

We asked the city of Houston for a list of all the broken water mains that haven't been fixed.We also asked how long ago the leaks were first reported. The city admits it takes a while sometimes, and the proof is in the puddles.

Water bubblers might look refreshing in near triple digit heat until you realize they're smack-dab in the middle of Bellaire Boulevard. And they've been there for more than a week.

"Nobody from the city at all has been out here," said Linda Barnes.

She works in the building that reported the leak and she says she can't believe it's still bubbling.

"Imagine if you had your water running for a week at your home how much money you're wasting?" Barnes said.

If a week is too long, how about more than three weeks? A few blocks down Bellaire Blvd. there's this another leak, reported the first half of August. Tahir Razvi saw crews trying to fix it Wednesday. They haven't been back.

"Maybe they haven't found the main problem where it's leaking from. I think they should come back because it still looks pretty bad there," said Razvi.

We found some weeks-old leaks are fixed, like one on Small Leaf Circle and this one on Carvel.

Bella Villarreal watched it spill water for more than three weeks until crews arrived on Monday after we'd asked the city for a list of unrepaired leaks

"They've got us water rationed for our plants here and yet all this water is gushing all over the city. What's with that?" said Villarreal.

The city has 48 crews repairing between 100 and 125 per day. Priority goes to larger breaks and those impairing public safety.

"The smaller water main breaks that occur in some neighborhoods will have to wait at some point," said Alvin Wright with the City of Houston Public Works Department.

Like the one on Overbrook, which got fixed Thursday after leaking for more than a month. It's dry now, but a block away, they left another.

Residents tell us it's at least two weeks old. Crews came Friday, but haven't yet fixed it.

The city has money to fix the leaks and even with private contractors helping it says it just doesn't have the manpower right now. Though for the first time in weeks, on Thursday the number of unfixed breaks dropped below 1,000.

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