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Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Just last week there were three water main breaks in the city of Columbia. Those frequent breaks are thanks to what city officials say is a 100 year old pipe system.

Two weeks ago Columbia city council voted to increase the water rates in order to tackle the crumbling infrastructure.

"This is an everyday operation, sometimes it's a seven day a week and 24 hour operation," said Joey Jaco, Director of Utilities and Engineering for the City of Columbia.

As summer approaches that means we will use more water in our homes, resulting in a greater chance for more water main breaks and that's bad news for our already crumbling water system.

"We are aggressively attacking areas of our system that need to be repaired, we've got water and sewer main projects that we have on the docket as a part of our Capital Improvement plan," said Jaco.

Jaco says they make repairs every day. He says some projects have already begun for the 100 million dollar capital plan.

"We are already finishing a project at the water treatment plant where we replaced the entire raw water intake and a portion of the high service pumps that pump into our system. We are replacing 40 year old pumps and pump equipment at our water plant that is more reliable and efficient."

The 6% rate increase will provide more money to make repairs. The plan contains a number of drinking water and watershed projects.

"We address areas that we have had numerous water main breaks and we feel like we need to rehab the pipes or replace the pipes."

Jaco says once work starts it will become an inconvenience for drivers, but he says that's a small price to pay for an improved water system.

"This is a sign that we are doing work to our system. We are addressing areas that we know are a concern. We are trying to stay ahead of these DOT projects that are going on around here and doing some investigative work."

If you want to see a complete list of the city's Capital Plan CLICK HERE.

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