Weather Causes Water Main Breaks In City

Changing weather conditions are to be blamed for three separate water main breaks along Hunt Road last week.

The first break came on Feb. 17 at Hunt Road and Southwestern Drive. The second happened on Thursday at Hunt Road and Howard Street. The third break was on Friday at Hunt Road and South Hanford Avenue. As a result, the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities has been busy repairing the breaks.

“The fact that three events happened on Hunt Road this week is a coincidence,” said Becky Robbins, communications coordinator for the BPU. “They are not connected in any way that we know of.”

Since the beginning of January through Feb. 22, the BPU reported 24 water main breaks. In comparison, for the same dates in 2012, only 20 breaks occurred.

“The reason we have main breaks at this time of year is, the temperature fluctuates from warm to cold and cold to warm again,” Robbins said. “That causes the ground around the water mains to shift. Sometimes, the ground shifts into the water mains, causing the lines to break.”

In order to repair the water main break, BPU water employees must turn off the water. Water may be turned off to one or two houses, or in some situations, water may be turned off to several streets at once.

The BPU notifies its customers when it plans to replace or repair a water line in advance. It does so by tagging doors, alerting media and posting alerts via social media. However, water main breaks are sudden and unexpected, which causes inconvenience.

“When water is restored after repairs are made, water direction in the water lines changes,” Robbins said. “When water direction changes, the water stirs and discolors for 12-18 hours. When water is discolored, it is best not to run it. Check on the color now and then before starting laundry. Running the water until it ‘runs clear’ will only pull more of the discolored water into your home and cause more frustration and trouble with the color.”