Second water line breaks in two weeks in downtown Greenville

Updated: Feb. 23, 2022 at 10:26 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) - For the second time in two weeks, a water main break in downtown Greenville caused road shutdowns for hours.

“These last two that we’ve had, it’s a very rare instance that we see these,” said Greenville Water Public Relations Manager Emerald Clark.

Over 3,000 miles of water lines run underground through and around Greenville County.

Now two water main breaks, both in downtown Greenville, happening in 14 days.

Like many areas around the county and city, downtown Greenville continues to grow and develop.

But Greenville City Council Member Lillian Brock Flemming, who represents District 2, says that’s not the issue.

“It’s not necessarily the growth that’s doing it, it’s the age of the pipes,” she said.

The two pipes that broke were both made of cast iron and installed in the 1930s and 1960s.

“It concerns me as a resident of the city always because it’s been quite some time since we’ve had two back-to-back not very far from each other,” said Flemming.

She says the city has taken steps in recent years to address infrastructure concerns such as revising the Stormwater Management system, investing more money into projects, even stopping developments from happening because of their potential impact on water lines.

But the city is looking for more help too.

“We hope that the federal infrastructure bill passes,” said Flemming.

That money, she says, would allow the city to put more resources into infrastructure, including fixing old water lines.

It’s a problem that can be hidden in plain sight.

“You will see a pothole and you feel that as soon as you hit it or you see a bridge that may look in disrepair but it’s harder when it comes to your hidden infrastructure. It’s not a problem until you see what’s behind me right now, it’s not a problem until something breaks,” explained Clark.

Greenville Water does have a monitoring software that typically lets them know if there are leaks or problems with any of their pipes.

Clark adds that these two recent water line breaks are an anomaly.