Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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August 22, 2013

City addresses water pipe leaks

Corsicana — Each August brings water leaks, as older water pipes give into the stresses of clay-like soil that dries and cracks. This summer has been about normal, said Charles Leist, environmental services director for the City of Corsicana.

“We’ve had an average number of leaks,” he said. “We’ve got several crews working on them right now. We’ve been able to keep ahead of a backlog of major leaks.”

The underlying causes are two-fold, Leist said.

Corsicana’s clay-like soil tends to get brittle during hot summer months, which puts stress on the older pipes.

“We’re trying to replace some of our aging infrastructure,” he said.

Some of the city’s oldest water pipes are 50 to 60-year-old cast iron, but there is also a mix of 30-year-old galvanized steel, and even some PVC pipe that was installed in the 1970s and 1980s, he said.

“For Corsicana now, it’s the galvanized steel and cast iron that’s not doing very well,” Leist said. “We’re trying to replace that. Corsicana has quite a bit of it.”

Currently, the city is soliciting bids from contractors who will help with projects such as repairs and meter replacement, according to City Manager Connie Standridge.

“One of our goals is to get some contractors in here to help with repairs,” she told the city council on Tuesday.

Using contractors for work like repairs makes fiscal sense, Standridge told the council.

Fringe benefits for city employees are an additional 33 percent on top of salary, she said.

“Contractors can do it for less,” she said. “Contract work in the parks and utilities has made a difference.”

In addition, the city has added back three positions for line replacement. The jobs weren’t in the budget in 2012, but the city fell behind in maintenance and upkeep, and had to add them back, she said.

“We haven’t been able to keep up with the leaks and meter change-outs and dead meters, all those maintenance things,” she said. “The problem is actually finding workers to fill those positions. We’re still short-handed.”


Janet Jacobs may be reached via email at Want to “sound off” to this article? Email:

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