UPDATED: Another break in Trans-canyon Pipeline near Phantom Ranch

Park personnel assessing damage from a split in a section of the Trans-canyon Waterline. The pipeline, installed in the mid-1960s, feeds water from Roaring Springs, located approximately 3,500 feet below the North Rim. Water is piped from the springs to the South Rim via a 16 mile-long pipeline. Water is then gravity-fed to the Indian Gardens pumping station, located 3,000 feet below the South Rim, then pumped from Indian Gardens to South Rim water tanks. Water is also pumped from Roaring Springs to North Rim water tanks by a seven mile-long pipeline. Portions of the pipeline are exposed and therefore can be susceptible to breaks. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 2014 | Photo courtesy of National Park Service , St. George News

UPDATE Oct. 1 – Crews finished repairing the pipeline break. Drinking water is again available at Cottonwood Campground and Manzanita Rest Area (formerly Pumphouse Residence) on the North Kaibab Trail.

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — Water utility staff at Grand Canyon National Park began repairs Tuesday for a break in the Trans-canyon Pipeline north of Phantom Ranch on the North Kaibab Trail in an area known as “The Box.” This is the second break in the Phantom Ranch area in September.

Water spraying from break in exposed section of Trans-canyon Waterline - after flash flood event.   Bright Angel Creek visible on right. (In this area, the pipeline was buried below the surface of the trail.)  Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, Jan. 2, 2014 | Photo courtesy of National Park Service , St. George News
Water spraying from break in exposed section of Trans-canyon Waterline – after flash flood event. Bright Angel Creek visible on right. (In this area, the pipeline was buried below the surface of the trail.)
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, Jan. 2, 2014 | Photo courtesy of National Park Service , St. George News

Breaks are fairly common, Emily Davis, Grand Canyon National Park spokeswoman, said, with the last couple of years averaging 12 to 20 breaks a year. The pipeline was built in 1966 and 1967, Davis said. After almost 50 years of use, the aluminum pipe is starting to wear out.

According to a press release issued by the park’s public affairs department, because these breaks are common, the National Park Service is usually able to maintain operations without significant disruptions to visitors.

Though it is less costly to repair the pipeline, rather than replace it, the NPS is currently replacing a half-mile section just north of Phantom Ranch. The replacement, Davis said, should be done some time this year.

To make the break repairs, crews will shut water off at Roaring Springs. Cottonwood Campground and Manzanita Rest Area (formerly Roaring Springs Residence) on the North Kaibab Trail will not have potable water until the repairs are complete, according to the press release. Phantom Ranch will utilize water storage tanks and will have drinking water available.

All Grand Canyon National Park trails remain open. As always, the National Park Service reminds hikers to be self-sufficient, to be prepared, carry all water or have a way to treat creek water and Hike Smart.


Read more: Heat can kill, getting lost can be fatal; how to survive the heat, be found when you’re lost or in distress


Hikers may contact the park’s Backcountry Information Center at 928-638-7875 for more information and updates on pipeline repairs.

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8 Comments

  • Bender September 30, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Trans Alaska Oil Pipeline as an accompanying image?

    • Joyce Kuzmanic Joyce Kuzmanic October 1, 2015 at 9:05 am

      Yes, somehow we chose a pipeline, any pipeline. I will be swapping out that image today that is more suitable.
      Egg-on-face, EIC, JK

  • BIG GUY September 30, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Nice photo of the Alaska oil pipeline.

    • Joyce Kuzmanic Joyce Kuzmanic October 1, 2015 at 9:05 am

      Yes, somehow we chose a pipeline, any pipeline. I will be swapping out that image today that is more suitable.
      Egg-on-face, EIC, JK

  • fun bag September 30, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    duct tape and chewing gum are your friend

  • beentheredonethat October 1, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Pesky moles I tell you.

  • wilbur October 1, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Can you imagine the maintenance bill for the Lake Powell Pipeline after a few ears?

  • .... October 3, 2015 at 9:27 am

    ears on the Lake Powell pipeline.?

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