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Temps Affect Water Main Breaks

The winter temperatures can also affect your water pipes. Late Thursday afternoon crews were called for a water main break near the MU campus. This comes one day after Jefferson City saw a water main break that left about 30 people without water for hours.Its similar to the extreme heat and drought this summer that caused a surge in water main breaks both in Jefferson City and in Columbia. That hasn’t happened to an unusual extent yet since its been cold, but officials said as the temperatures continue to stay low it will happen more. “A lot of times we see those water main breaks kind of come in little bursts,” said Connie Kacprowicz with Columbia Water and Light.It’s those bursts of busted pipes that both Columbia and Jefferson City officials say they’re used to seeing this time of year. “We do see more water main breaks whenever we see the moisture content change a lot or drastic changes in the temperature,” said Kacprowicz.ABC 17 News also spoke with Gilbert Cole with Missouri American Water, he said “Sometimes its the change in the weather, down below the water has a lower temperature then the surroundings and its sets up stress in the pipe.”Officials say a pipe breaking is like filling up a hot glass bowl with cold water until the glass breaks. “They happen all the time that’s just something we deal with everyday, of course we don’t have one everday fortunately but some days we have two or three,” said Cole.In Jefferson City they average around 80 breaks a year, and hit a record last august with 28. It’s a problem that stems from the pipes being so old. “Most systems in the United States are about 100 years old and a lot of them havent been replaced, but it is good materials and it does last but its going to have breaks,” said Cole.In Columbia those old pipes have been getting a makeover. In 2008 most of the pipes around the mu campus and CPS schools were repaired. “We have a lot of ongoing maintenance program if we see problems but then also we are looking at the bigger picture to continue with our maintenance.” said Kacprowicz.However, as officials continue preventing breaks, they know when the thermometer drops the chance for breaks will rise. “We are going to have problems, that’s just the nature of having pipes in the ground,” said Kacprowicz Both Columbia and Jefferson City officials said they plan for these problems to happen and have money set aside for them.Water officials said people can help keep their home’s pipes from breaking by running the water more often, and keeping the pipes insulated.

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