Overhauling this old system would cost billions of dollars.By Andy Sheehan

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — From a spectacular geyser in Shaler Township to a river of water flowing down Virginia Avenue on Mt. Washington, water mains have been busting throughout the city and region in the past few days.

The breaks have deprived hundreds of people of water and resulted in boil advisories for thousands more.

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(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Brian Smithmyer)

(Photo Credit: Video/Sara Schmitt)

As Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority workers begin restoring water service and fixing pipes, the breaks raise the questions: Why so many? And why now?

“It’s safe to say that all of our mains are old,” said PWSA Executive Director Will Pickering.

Water usage is up, meaning the mains have added pressure, and the hot weather can produce shifts in the ground. But the biggest problem throughout the city is the age of the pipes. And oftentimes, they just give out.

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The PWSA is spending $60 million over the next two years to replace old mains, but that’s only about 1 percent. And even as KDKA’s Andy Sheehan interviewed Pickering on Friday, crews were called to another break just blocks away.

“We are trying to be proactive, trying to predict where the next break will be and replace those sections in a given year. But it’s an uphill battle,” Pickering said.

The PWSA is telling residents on Mt. Washington that water will be restored by Friday night and to boil their water for a few days afterward.

Kevin Begley said it all comes with city living.

“It’s not the worst news but a slight inconvenience,” the Mt. Washington resident said.

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Overhauling this old system would cost billions of dollars, too much for the ratepayer. So the PWSA and cities across America are looking to Congress for possible funds from an infrastructure bill.