Heat wave causes spike in water main breaks - KMOV.com

Heat wave causes spike in water main breaks

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Missouri American Water says heat takes a toll on water mains. Credit: KMOV Missouri American Water says heat takes a toll on water mains. Credit: KMOV
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

Since the first round of excessive heat last week, Missouri American Water tells News 4 that it's seen a sharp increase in the number of water main breaks.

Company spokesman Brian Russell said, "We've had as many at 20 or more in St. Louis County on particularly hot days, especially if it's the third or fourth in a row it really starts to become a problem."

Russell said the number of breaks has dropped off to about one per day this week. He said the hot weather dries out the soil and causes cracks, which can impact the buried water lines.

"If you look at dry dirt it's really cracky, and that eliminates some of the support for the water mains and causes them to break in weak spots," said Russell.

Crews called out to make the repairs have had to take extra steps to keep from being overcome by the excessive heat.

"We keep them hydrated, I bring them lots of Gatorade, take breaks, got to take breaks. Everybody switches off in the hole so that nobody gets over heated," said Carl White, Operations Supervisor for Missouri American Water.

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