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Baltimore Officials Work To Prevent More Water Main Breaks

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Heading off an infrastructure nightmare. Two and a half years after a massive water main break wiped out much of Dundalk, Baltimore launches an intensive inspection to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Kai Jackson has more on the high-tech testing underway Tuesday night.

It’s no secret Baltimore City’s infrastructure is old but a new high-tech device will determine exactly what kind of shape it’s in.

In 2009, a 72-inch water main exploded and flooded a large portion of Dundalk. The city says it’s part of an aging infrastructure in critical need of repair.

“Bottled water. A lot of flooding,” said one resident.

Numerous water main breaks later, Baltimore’s putting its infrastructure under the microscope. The city will use a pipe diver to inspect miles of pipe that make up a critical line providing water for Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard and Anne Arundel counties.

“Typically, we find that four to six percent of the pipe sections are in need of repair,” said Jonathan Watts, Pure Technology.

Engineers say the pipe diver can pinpoint problems and prevent cities from haphazardly digging up pipes.

Engineers say it would take the pipe diver five hours to inspect six miles of pipeline. That information is recorded on a hard drive on the device and will later be analyzed.

The city says part of the problem is the use of pre-stressed concrete pipes.

“They were manufactured by a company that really didn’t know how to manufacture pipes very well,” said Kurt Kocher, Department of Public Works.

The pipe diver has been working for about three hours. They should be finished by 1 a.m. Wednesday. It will take six to eight weeks for engineers to analyze the data, compile it, figure out what it means and present it to city leaders so they can decide what to do.

The city says they may use the pipe diver to inspect other lines in the near future.

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