Number of Water Main Breaks per Year in the US


Estimated Repair Costs per Year in the US


Water main failures are awfully expensive for municipalities because they typically result in expenses associated with repair costs, flood damage, and loss of revenue to affected businesses. Water main failures also interrupt the operation of vital services, such as medical care and firefighting operations. Currently, millions of dollars are spent annually by industry and by municipalities on the repair of failed components of the water distribution infrastructure, such as components that are made from gray cast iron or “gray iron” pipe  and ductile cast iron or “ductile iron” pipe.

The rate of municipal water main failure is expected to increase as the existing cast iron infrastructure continues to age. Pipe Manufacturers claim a service life more than 100 years for ductile iron. Research indicates that an average service life of water main pipeline is around 50 years. However, Matergenics team has worked on water main projects where water main pipeline has filed in 20 – 30 years; well below what most manufacturers claim.

The cost of repairing damages caused by broken water mains (and subsequent flooding damage) may become an important item in many municipal budgets. According to a study by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) conducted in 2012, the United States must invest more than $1 trillion in underground water infrastructure work for over 25 years. The amount could go beyond $1.7 trillion over the next 40 years. Avoiding or hampering the investment could result in catastrophe both in terms of water main breaks and the cost associated. This would especially apply to pipe installed without an increased investment in condition assessment, pipe monitoring and corrosion control measures. In our opinion, water utilities are way behind in terms of corrosion control programs compared to oil & gas pipeline industry.

What We Offer

Team Matergenics will be at the site of water main break for failure analysis, to determine if it is due to corrosive soil, galvanic action, water main material or stray current corrosion.  Soil analysis, failure analysis and corrosion risk assessment will be performed after the onsite investigation and collection of samples. We also provide engineering solution, design, and install cathodic protection systems to protect these important assets, which can add 20 years to their remaining life.

We have attached several of our technical publications regarding water main breaks, the cast iron graphitization, graphitization detection sensor, a Matergenics’ brochure for your review.

“Great report & excellent work. A job well done on all counts. A++++”

Advant Chemical

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