Two water lines broke on Wednesday morning, Dec. 18, in Graham, causing prolonged leaks and street closures.

The first break occurred at around 6:30 a.m. on Fourth Street near the Cherry Street intersection, and city workers managed to repair that line by 8:30 a.m. The second break occurred at around 10 a.m. in front of a residence on North Street, about a block west of the Virginia intersection.

The street had to be closed off, but city workers repaired that line by noon. Several lines have also broken and sprung leaks in the past several weeks, and city workers said that one reason for this involves rapid changes in temperature.

The ice storm that hit most of North Texas two weeks ago also caused two line breaks. Public Works Administrator David Casteel said that while temperature changes are one reason for the line breaks, another reason has to do with the ongoing drought.

“Since there has been such an extended drought period, you have soil that’s just really dry,” Casteel said. “And in the areas where you have clay, it contracts and then they (the lines) break.”

The city of Graham has identified roughly $3 million worth of needed line replacements as part of a major, citywide water system renovation project consisting of four phases that tops out at a cost of over $14 million. The project addresses two main water needs for Graham.

Of most import is the renovation and expansion of the city’s water treatment plant, which is now 30 years old. The second need involves upgrading a 24-inch water line which remains Graham’s only line drawing water from the treatment plant west into town and is also 30 years old.

Because it is the only line from the plant into town, part of the $3 million allocated for line repair will also fund a new 16-inch water line that will bring water in from the east side of town. Distribution lines such as those that cracked on Wednesday morning won’t be addressed until the fourth phase of the project.

Read the entire story in this weekend's edition of The Graham Leader.