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Aug 23, 2012 6:39 PM

Tucson Water detects and fixes problem pipeline on west side

TUCSON - Tucson Water is making headway on the repair of a major waterline near Starr pass and Greasewood - last week they discovered some corrosion on the pipe so they moved in quickly to fix it.

About 12 years ago, the water main along Starr Pass Blvd. burst and flooded the surrounding neighborhoods with nearly 50 million gallons of water. When Tucson Water ran into problems with pipeline again last week, there was a much better outcome.

This time, the pipeline was fitted with a detection system to alert Tucson Water of possible failures, and last week it did just that, Tucson Water officials said today during a news conference. Workers were promptly called out to within feet of the cracked pipe, avoiding another possible disaster.

"In 1999, our cul-de-sac had about three foot of water in it, fire dept had swift water rescue, trash cans were floating in it and my family was stranded here for about 8 hours," recalled Starr Pass resident Jim Hook.

Tucson Water still lost around 3 million gallons this week, but besides weak pressure, nobody was ever completely without water.

Another resident, Susan Buelna says she "just continued with the everyday things:.laundry, watered the plants outside with no problems. I didn't even know it was broken."

With water pressure back up and flooding avoided, residents along Starr Pass are thankful things went much better this time around.

"This time around the inspections worked," Hook said. "The fail safes worked and definitely a big improvement."

Now a plan is in place to get that pipeline back up and running by lining it with a carbon fiber fabric barrier, Tucson Water officials said. Construction on that project is expected to last through next week.

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