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Mile by mile, crews upgrade water mains throughout Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- You might be seeing construction around town, and KC Water could even be digging up your front yard. It's all part of their long-term water main replacement plan.

"It's a part of our larger project and goal to replace 28 miles of our 2,800-mile system in the city, so that`s 1 percent per year," project manager Terry Thomas said.

Over the past six years, the city's water department has been breaking ground to make sure lines don't break on their own.

"We had an extremely high breaks about five to six years ago, and we've reduced that number by up to 60 percent. So, so far so good. The program is working," Thomas said.

Thomas said replacing the lines not only keeps emergency repairs down, but improves quality.

"The water quality was definitely good. It was drinkable, but it wasn't the best that we could put out," Thomas said. "So with this replacement program we're able to give you new copper service lines, as well as fresh delta iron pipe that's zinc-coated that allows it to last a lot longer. From treatment plant to home, the water quality is A-plus."

Although water consumers are seeing prices go up, Thomas said the majority of the increases customers see is for sewer improvements and not water main upgrades. However, the upgrades do make prices go up $1-2 per year.

This week, Sens. Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt asked President Donald Trump to help ease the cost of sewer and water increases on Kansas City residents.

Thomas said the project is only 6 percent done, but the plan is to sustain repairs over time.

"As we construct we're designing the next year's project so we can keep this thing going. So hopefully by the time our kids and grandkids are here we'll be starting all over, and have to do it all over again," Thomas said.