America watches its infrastructure deteroirate

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Updated: Thu, 10 Oct 2013 09:17:45 CST

You drive, walk and even live over them every day.  Thousands of water and sewer lines run underneath the Tri–Cities.  But are those lines deteriorating right below our feet? 

Last Thursday waste water crews found a collapse in a sewer line at Seventh Street and Sky Park Road.  By Monday that collapse had caused a hole 10 feet wide and 17 feet deep. 

This is the second collapse on that particular line just this year but across the country, collapses like these are a common problem

"The federal government started a program where they would help communities establish water and sewer systems, and put a lot of money into them back in the post WWII era and even some before," said John Collins, Grand Island Public Works Director.

Now those systems across the country and right here in the Tri–Cities are more than 50 years old--  coming to the end of their lifespan.

Hidden underneath the ground-- they've been ignored-- void of maintenance like we see with our more visible roads and bridges.  That lack of maintenance comes with an expense.

Grand Island Public Works Director John Collins says repairing this collapse alone will cost the city $80,000 to $100,000.  A price that would have been avoided if the city had started maintenance on the lines sooner than the project they started just several years ago.

"Replacing an engine for a few thousand versus a few dollars for some oil, it's a pretty big difference.  The same things apply to a pipe, to a street, to the wastewater treatment plant, it doesn't matter.  It's all much cheaper to do it upfront," added Collins.