Cottonwood roots break water main

Massive cottonwood roots from a tree 40 feet away were the cause of a January 9 water main break on Claire Lane.

At the January 10 meeting of water district commissioners, district manager Dan Bourks explained that the roots effectively strangled the main over the years, growing around and under the pipe. The pressure caused a small crack that slowly bled hundreds of thousands of gallons water from the system before it bubbled to the surface and the break was discovered and repaired.

“Once you excavate an area (such as to install water mains) the groundwater naturally flows in and the tree roots follow,” Bourks said. Especially thirsty, cottonwoods have been responsible for the majority of breaks caused by roots in the years he’s been with the district, Bourks said.

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