Columbia to begin water main replacements, some over 50 years old

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Water and Light is set to begin work on replacing six water mains around Columbia, some of which have not been replaced in over 50 years. 

"Most of the areas we're working in now were originally installed in the 1950s through the 1970s," said Columbia Water and Light engineer, Joe Strodtman.

He said the city prioritizes water main replacements based on the amount of maintenance that a pipe has received.

"We look at its maintenance history and how often we have to fix main breaks or chase leaks," he said. 

However, Strodtman said "prioritization of funding" is also taken into account when deciding when to replace a main. 

In a 2018 Missouri Infrastructure report card, Missouri received a C- grade meaning infrastructure in the state is "mediocre" and "requires attention."

The report says, "Most Missouri water systems continue to suffer failures that are the result of deferred maintenance and infrastructure elements that are beyond their useful service life."

It also says, "Consequences from these conditions are emergency repairs that consume valuable budget resources and service interruptions that negatively impact customer confidence."