Two more water main breaks in Breckenridge |

Two more water main breaks in Breckenridge

Caddie Nath
summit daily news

Two more water mains broke this week in the Silver Shekel area in Breckenridge, an event that is becoming commonplace for residents in the neighborhood of aging infrastructure.

Repairs began Wednesday on one of the breaks. The second break is set to be fixed today. Water is being shut off for a handful of residents until repairs are complete.

“It is affecting a very small amount of people,” town of Breckenridge spokeswoman Kim Dykstra-DiLallo said. “They’ve all been notified.”

Officials attributed the frequency of problems with the piping system in the area to the age of the water lines, saying they weren’t built to withstand the freeze-thaw cycle in an alpine environment.

The lines fail when changes in temperature in the large rocks around them cause the ground to shift, damaging the infrastructure.

Pipes in Summit County are now placed in a bed of pebbles, which help insulate them from the movement. Silver Shekel and a neighborhood on Peak 7 experience frequent water main breaks because they were constructed improperly decades ago under the Blue River Water District – a distinct entity from the current Blue River Sanitation District.

“When they took over that, the town inherited some of these earlier building standards,” Dykstra-DiLallo said.

The town is paying for the repairs out of the water fund, an account that operates like a business, supported entirely by income from water fees.

There are plans under way to implement a lasting solution to the problem in both the Silver Shekel and Peak 7 areas.

“The long-term plan is that we will be replacing (the lines),” Dykstra-DiLallo said. “The ball is already rolling to do Peak 7 and then come back and do Fairview Boulevard.”

A permanent fix was done in one part of Silver Shekel several years ago that has reduced the number of water main breaks in the area.

“It is an older neighborhood,” said Dykstra-DiLallo, who is herself a resident of Silver Shekel.

“A lot of us, the owners that bought into this older neighborhood, understand there are things that are not going to run as well as brand new equipment.”

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