City of Walla Walla loses a billion gallons of water per year be - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

City of Walla Walla loses a billion gallons of water per year because of leaky water piping

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WALLA WALLA, WA. -- Did you know the City of Walla Walla is one of the oldest cities in Eastern Washington? That age is causing big problems for the water system and the city is trying to fix the problem one pipe at a time.

A leak in a water pipe can cause a lot of commotion but it's becoming more and more common in Walla Walla.

This leak sprung near the corner of 8th Avenue and Main Street. The city took out the pipe and had extreme deterioration.

We shot video yesterday of the leak that's been releasing 50 gallons of water per minute since Monday. The city has been waiting to get an excavator to the site to fix a broken valve.

That work just got underway Thursday evening. City employees say they couldn't turn off the water before then because local businesses nearby need the water, especially a car wash right next to the broken valve.

This is nothing new to Walla Walla since their water piping is about 60-years-old. Overall, the city estimates they lose a billion gallons of water because of leaky, old pipes. 

"We're repairing. Right now we have a big campaign to repair the leaks as they pop up," David Brauhn, representative for the City of Walla Walla said. "The problem is when you fix one leak, it can increase the pressure and then cause another leak."

The city started the infrastructure repair and replacement program in 2010 to tackle to failing water piping in the city. So far 13 programs have been completed replacing 5 miles of water main, sewer main and roadway. 

But there's still about 91 miles of piping that is facing failure. That's about half of the city's 191 miles of city water piping . The replacement program is expected to help replace an additional 41 miles of piping in the years to come.