The City of Harrisburg is facing a water crisis.
The already debt-ridden Capital City is now dealing with sink-holes and aging water mains.
Many of the pipes that run under the streets of Harrisburg were installed in the later 1800s and they need to be replaced. But the city does not have the money.
But the Harrisburg Authority does have a plan.
Whether it's a couple of sinkholes on Fourth Street or a water main break on Cameron, the evidence is clear, Harrisburg's underground pipes are old, frail and need to be fixed.
"We're lucky that they have lasted as long as they have,” Harrisburg Authority’s Shannon Williams admitted. “There are some that are 100 years old and doing the job. But there are others we need to be more careful about."
With that in mind, the Harrisburg Authority has a created plan. The Authority, which owns many of the pipes in Harrisburg, plans to assess and prioritize which ones need the most attention.
There are already 40 areas being monitored, but many problems have yet to be discovered. This process will take a long time and cost a lot of money.
That initial assessment will takes years and cost millions. The price tag of actually repairing or replacing the pipes will be astronomical.
"To replace the entire system is up in the billions of dollars range,” Williams stated. “We know we can't replace all the pipe in the next five, ten or 20 years. And that's why it's most important to focus our efforts in the most critical areas."
To fund this giant project, the Authority is looking at grants, low interest loans, anything that can minimize the burden on the rate payer.