KCMO dealing with thousands of water main breaks

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Maintenance crews in Kansas City worked for hours Wednesday to fix a water main break that spewed water into the street at 39th and Broadway.

City officials said it is the latest example of a growing problem in Kansas City. Each year, city crews fix an average of 1,800 water main breaks.

City Manager Troy Schulte said aging infrastructure is to blame; several of the water pipes along Kansas City streets are hundreds of years old.

This past weekend, city crews fixed a water main break in front of City Hall. The pipe that broke dated back to 1874.

Tuesday, the KCMO finance committee paved the way for $500 million in water bonds to be voted on by Kansas City residents via a ballot in April.

If passed, the city hopes the $500 million will pay for water infrastructure repairs for at least the next 10 years. If it doesn't pass via ballot, Schulte said water main breaks will only get more expensive to fix.

"For many years, these were buried underground and forgotten about. Well after 100-125 years, that problem is coming back and now the city is dealing with these problems over again", he said.

Schulte said the city really should have started these repairs on water infrastructure 50 years ago, but the money for repairs didn't exist.

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