N4T Investigators: Water main mess in Tanque Verde - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: Water main mess in Tanque Verde

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Tucson- For people living in Tanque Verde, going hours at a time without water has become an all too common occurrence. In the past 15 months the same waterline has been in need of service on six different occasions.

The most recent break, earlier this month, left many without water and with even more unanswered questions. Tanque Verde Valley resident David Jennings said he tried calling the city’s emergency waterline number twice during the most recent break, but was left with more questions than answers.

”One of the agents who answered the phone, I had to call back to make sure they had a crew coming, and I gave them the actual address,” Jennings said, “they confused this side of town with Dove Mountain. I was kind of shocked because how would you not know when you’ve been out here every other month.”

 Fernando Molina with Tucson Water tells us the pipes in the area are fairly new, and that further investigation into the problem is necessary.

”A standard operating procedure that we have is when we have that many breaks in that short period of a time we’ll do some additional investigation in there,” Molina said. “We’re going to review all the materials from the field crews that were out there, look at the documentation such as the written reports, pictures that were taken and try and determine what exactly is the cause of this.”

Jennings tells the News 4 Tucson Investigators he’s also concerned with the fact that private contractors seem to be handling most of the work in the area, and not the city.

”Third party construction trucks, very rarely do I see a city truck which is a concern for me because there’s somebody who need to be accountable to the city for overseeing the third party construction crews,” Jennings said.

Tucson Water says it is not uncommon for the city to employ private contractors to help out in situations like this, and the city still overseas the work being done.

”On occasion we do have to rely on contractors because crews are busy day in and day out responding to main breaks and we want to get to them as quickly as possible,” Molina said.

As for what keeps causing the problem, Molina says it could be one of several things.

”It could be defective material in the pipe itself, it could be that perhaps the bedding, the trench, that the pipe is laid down on top of could have shifted around, it could be just the environmental conditions in general with the soil there.”

But Jennings isn’t convinced that the city will come up with a solution.

”I can almost guarantee you sometime January-February when it gets really frigid cold on this corner that we’re going to see some kind of breakage unless they’re preemptive and do something about it before it gets that cold,” Jennings said.

Currently there is no timetable for how long it will take the city to determine the cause of the problem in Tanque Verde. 

If you have a story you'd like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.

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