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The water main breaks (like the one pictured at Market and Cherokee Street in October 2001) have become an all too familiar image of a problem with the City’s water main.  Incidents of water main breaks began to occur in greater frequency over the last 10 years and have caused significant service disruption and property damage. 
In April 2001, Department of Public Works staff provided a presentation to the Board of Mayor and Alderman (BMA) highlighting the findings of a six month engineering study commissioned to investigate the causes of the water breaks in the City’s largest water main.
This follow-up presentation was provided to the BMA on October 15, 2001 in order to detail the proposed re-routing of the replacement line and to outline the water main replacement schedule. 
The images of the broken water main illustrate the “catastrophic” nature of the pipe failure that literally causes the pipe to burst apart, blowing large pieces off of the top of the pipe.  In nearly every one of the 50 breaks that have occurred in the last 10 years, this pattern has been identical.  This signature break pattern was an important indicator of the prospective causes of the break and ultimately helped guide the engineering study that revealed the source of the break.