I checked with two reliable sources about water main breaks in the winter time... the Director of Public Utilities for St. Louis, Curt Skouby and Google:).
Skouby wasn't the least bit surprised there were four water main breaks over night.
"It's a busy season for us," he told me.
He said post of the city's approximately 300 water main breaks each year happen either in the dead of winter or the heat of the summer. Now St. Louis has some old infrustructure and I couldn't help but wonder if our old pipes were a big contributor.
A Google search with the words "winter," "water," "main," and "break" show St. Louis is definitely not alone. Skouby told me it really is the weather. "Even if you had brand new pipes in the ground, you would see breaks," he said.
There are crews on schedule throughout the night, including other crews on call and Skouby says they'll work overtime to get the pipes fixed as soon as they can.
As for concerns about rushing water freezing on city streets he told me his crews do three things.... Set up roadblocks to keep cars and people out of the icy areas and where crews are working... spread out salt on the quickly-forming ice and control the water flow the best they can to lessen the amount that gets out and causes more potential problems.
We can expect to see more water main breaks in the coming days and weeks. It's just that time of year.