www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-city-water-letter-20121111,0,3287164.story

baltimoresun.com

City water woes should spur action

2:00 PM EST, November 11, 2012

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The grand old lady is showing her advancing age. I'm referring to the failing infrastructure of Baltimore city's water piping below her streets ("Charles St. 'river' subsides; businesses can reopen," Nov. 9).

Some of the major conduits are over 100 years old. They are destined for inevitable failure. We have witnessed some of these failures recently. It can be obviously crippling to our city. It disrupts everything in downtown Baltimore. Shop owners see a precipitous drop-off in sales if they are located near the water main breaks. Traffic becomes choked and diverted, making for some very anxious moments for commuters. The correct apparatus and manpower has to be literally rushed to the scene of the occurrence. That's not an easy endeavor when water is gushing to knee level.

The mayor should immediately implement an exhaustive effort to thoroughly study the city's beleaguered water infrastructure. Bring in the engineers, analysts and decision-makers. More aging mains bursting is not a question of why, but rather a matter of when.

This undertaking will cost the city millions of dollars to undertake. Experts need to be assigned, and implements to aid in the study will be very costly. To not prioritize the situation will be undoubtedly catastrophic.

Like the commercial used to say, "You can pay me now or you can pay me later."

Patrick R. Lynch, Nottingham