Taking care of a water system is like taking care of a car. Put the money into maintenance and the car has fewer problems and lasts longer. Louisville Water Company knows the value of maintaining the water system - take care of the water mains, pumps and treatment plants and the region gets a safe, high-quality and dependable supply of drinking water.
Over the next 20 years, we're projecting to spend $625 million to maintain the more than 4,200 miles of water main in our service area. This is the largest investment in Louisville Water's capital spending plan.
Louisville Water has water mains that range in size from six inches in diameter to over five feet and some of the water mains are over a century old. That's why inspection and maintenance are key. The water mains are underground but the work is not hidden.
Inspecting larger water mains and preventing problems is easier now, thanks to robotic detection. We'll spend over $90 million over the next 20 years to inspect and repair the large pipes. This is important because a break on one of the larger mains can cause millions of dollars in damage and impact water service for days.
Throughout the community, we're replacing the smaller water mains in neighborhoods. We're stepping up this work with a goal of 15 water main breaks per 100 miles of pipe. The work on neighborhood water mains is the largest component at $374 million.
Finally, Louisville Water plans to eliminate the remainder of its lead service lines by 2020. These are the lines that connect to the customer's property. Until 1950, it was common for water utilities to install lead service lines. We began replacing ours in the 1980s and stepped up the effort in the 1990s. We have 6,500 lead service lines to replace, less than 2.5% of our services.
Looking at the budget for taking care of water mains includes large dollars, lots of construction and some traffic detours. But the result is something we often take for granted, a safe, reliable and high-quality supply of drinking water. Louisville Water began over 156 years ago in 1860. Just like maintaining the car, we're working to make sure our water system lasts another century.