Leaky pipes: Phoenix residents express concern over long wait times for repairs

- Got a leaky pipe bubbling water on your road? Phoenix residents say don't expect a quick fix in this town and some have waited weeks, even months after alerting officials about the problem.

Most of the city's water pipes are around 65 years old. Water officials say they receive around 500 to 800 reports of leaky pipes around town every month and on average, residents should expect it to take around 23 days for one to get fixed after reporting it. And that waiting period is an improvement over the years.

Water has been bubbling up from underground, soaking a part of 36th Street for the past two weeks. Several neighbors have called the Phoenix Water Services Department and we're told it will stay this way for a couple more weeks. That wasn't the answer neighbors wanted to hear.

"You definitely think about the leak and the infrastructure and whether or not it's actually damaging the street," said Rhoda Alexander. "We usually don't have that kind of water running for that long."

"We should be conserving our water. I mean, it's bubbling up out of the ground," said Jennifer Caughlin.

City water officials say this leak is considered a priority 3, the lowest.

"A priority 3 leak poses no threat to life, health or property or safety," explained City of Phoenix Water Services Deputy Director, Jim Swanson. "Because of that priority 3 leak will always be scheduled after a 1 or 2."

This leak on Camelback near 35th Street is considered a priority 2 leak and a major water break like this one at a extremely traveled intersection -- Camelback and 32nd Street last year, is considered priority 1.

The city gets up to 300 reports of water main breaks and 800 reporters of water service line leaks every month.

"We've got 7,000 miles of water main, on average it takes about 23 to 25 days to repair," said Swanson. "Previous years were at about 42 days average. Today, we're at 23."

Still, residents remain concerned about wasting water and who might have to pay.

"Somebody's going to have to pay for that water and every time I drive through, I wonder if that's going to get tacked on to my water bill," said Alexander.

The leak at 36th Street, south of Shea is scheduled to be fixed on September 19. And the leak on Camelback at 35th Street is scheduled to be fixed on September 17.

Water officials say if the source of the leak is on the city side of the property, you won't be responsible for paying for it. But if the source of the leak is on the private side of the property, then the water customer will be responsible for paying for the lost water.

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