WKYT Investigates: Lexington's century-old water pipes

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky American Water engineers spent one morning recently between Third Street and Sixth Street. They were replacing a water pipe that had been in the ground since1914.

"We focus on areas where maybe pipes haven't been performing as well. Maybe they've been breaking more, maybe water pressure issues, that kind of thing," explained Kentucky American Water spokesperson Susan Lancho.

Lancho said replacement work is possible through money set aside in every customer's bill. "We could always use more. The balance is how much can you invest, to how much customers can afford," she said.

Right now, Lancho said that balance adds up to about $20 million a year they can use for water main breaks and for planning purposes, as well. "As much as possible we try to take a proactive approach."

The American Society of Civil Engineers looked at America's drinking and waste water infrastructure last year and gave it a "D" grade. Lancho said, "As a nation, we need to be thinking about renewing our infrastructure so it serves us well into the future."

Lancho said Lexington is doing it's part. There's about 2,000 miles of pipe in the city. Most of the pipe, Lancho said, was installed in the 1970s and 1980s. Which is relatively new compared to the four percent of pipe still being used in Lexington that was put in the ground before 1914. They hope taking precautions and making replacements now will save customers down the road.

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