Tough Break

The extremely cold winter is taking its toll on Jamestown Board of Public Utilities water mains.

On Monday during the BPU board meeting, David Leathers, BPU general manager, said the cold weather has been leading to more water main breaks than what normally occur. Leathers said the BPU has been fixing about four a day during this extremely cold winter. He said, normally, BPU crews only have to fix one water main about every two and half days.

”It is a tough time for the water department,” Leathers said.

On Tuesday, it was reported by BPU officials that there were two water main breaks, one at the corner of Norton Avenue and Trenton Street and another on High Street in West Ellicott, along Howard Avenue. Water in West Ellicott and on the west side of the city may be discolored for 12-24 hours after the repairs are made.

BPU officials want to remind its water customers to keep the water circulating in their homes by running a pencil thin drip of water in a sink overnight to prevent home pipes from freezing. The frost level is at least 40 inches down from the ground level this winter and home water pipes may be only inches away from ice and frost. Keeping the water circulating in the home can prevent the costly and inconvenient loss of water due to frozen pipes.

Changes in temperature makes the ground shift around water mains, placing weight and pressure on the pipes, causing the water lines to break. Water main breaks can be spotted with water gushing up into the air or with water running down the street. Sometimes there is a small area of melted snow in a yard or on the highway which can also designate a water main break.

If a customer notices a water main break, the BPU asks them to report it. During the day, call BPU customer service at 661-1660 or their 24-hour, any day, trouble line at 661-1640.