Intense heat puts pressure on water mains, old pipes - KMOV.com

Intense heat puts pressure on water mains, old pipes

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Crews working on one of many water mains across St. Louis area on June 14 (Credit: KMOV). Crews working on one of many water mains across St. Louis area on June 14 (Credit: KMOV).

(KMOV.com) – The intense heat is taking its toll on water mains around the St. Louis area.

Missouri American Water says there are enough fire hydrants in neighborhoods for water to go to each hydrant.

In Crestwood, Missouri, water was shut down in the afternoon to several homes on Twin Spruce Drive.

The problem with the hot weather is that water usage goes up and water companies pump more water, which puts more pressure on the pipes. The pipes then ruptures the older, more fragile water mains.

Missouri American Water says compounding the problem is the fact they can no longer charge a fee that went toward infrastructure replacement.

“We used that fee to proactively schedule main replacements. We'd identify the oldest, weakest pipe in our system and replace them before they broke. That was ten times more cost effective than waiting until they break,” said Brian Russell with Missouri American Water. “Also it’s a convenience thing too. We can tell a homeowner, ‘Look, three weeks from now we'll be on your street replacing water main so you won't have water for a few hours,’ so they can plan for it.” 

Russell mentioned Missouri American Water had crews working 11 different water main breaks during the afternoon on June 14. The 11 water mains are anywhere from an inch and a half in diameter up to 42 inches across.

Also, the water main in Crestwood, Mo. was a 50-year-old cast iron, which is the life expectancy for a pipe. But many around the Crestwood, Mo. area are 70 – 80-years-old.

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