Heat puts pressure on water mains

POSTED: Friday, July 22, 2011 - 5:44pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am

WACO -- No moisture from the sky means more water is needed from the city's supply and a busted main can mean no water for hours

"Anywhere between 6 to 8 hours just on a normal work day. But it was a lot more complex on the Bosque job and it took, multiple days," said Chris Meyers, a utility operator.

These breaks happen for several reasons mainly increased water pressure and old pipelines.

"The older parts of the system, they're just more susceptible. it just doesn't take as much and if the ground shifts just a little, something may break," said Jonathan Echols, Public Relations Coordinator for Waco water Utilities Services.

But these breaks are most heat-related.

Extreme heat and no rain makes the terrain crumble, which is forcing the ground to shift and when the ground shifts that could potentially break a water main.

And unfortunately there's not much the city can do in advance to prevent these breaks.

"We replace infrastructure lines underground whenever we can and that's really mostly what you can do. In terms of the heat and the cold causing the ground to shift, you know, there's not a whole lot you can do," said Echols.

On top of shifting ground, the triple-digit temperatures also affect the people who repair the breaks.

"The heat, it's difficult at times, but we have Gatorade we try to keep ourselves hydrated, uh, we get in the shade. whatever it takes to keep ourselves working," said Meyers.

And without any rain in the forecast, Echols says there's a good chance we'll see more breaks as the summer goes on.


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