Utility officials: Broad Ripple sink hole highlights aging infrastructure

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 14, 2015) – Officials with Citizens Energy Group say the latest water main break in Broad Ripple points to the ongoing need to upgrade underground infrastructure in Indianapolis.

And water customers should expect more rate increases in the future.

“We know that that’s frustrating to see your bill go up,” said Citizens Energy Group spokesperson Sarah Holsapple. “But we want people to understand that when that bill is going up, that money that’s being spent is going to repairs like these.”

Before sunrise Wednesday morning, a water main break caused another sink hole to open up along Compton Street, right outside Broad Ripple Magnet High School. The loss of water pressure in the area caused delays at the high school and left nearby apartments and businesses without running water.

“Well I turned the faucet on and no water came out so I knew there was another water main break,” said David Wheeler, who lives at the Broad Ripple Apartments.

The break happened about 400 feet north of a similar break in another line under Compton Street about two months ago. The main that broke Wednesday morning had been underground since 1927, according to Holsapple.

Repair crews were able to get the line fixed, with water pressure restored around 10:30am. The sink hole was filled and resurfaced by late Wednesday afternoon.

Holsapple said breaks and problems of this nature will continue to happen until citywide upgrades can be made to the aging infrastructure. And that means more rate increases are likely for water customers. Citizens water customers saw their rates go up by 9-percent in the first part of 2014. Holsapple didn’t know when the utility may go back to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to request another increase. But, she said it will be part of the utility’s “ongoing story.”

“We certainly know that mains need to be replaced in Indianapolis,” Holsapple said. “And in order to do that, we’re going to have to continue to ask customers for rate increases.”

Citizens Energy is currently in the midst of a two year, $114 million dollar infrastructure improvement plan.

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