'Unprecedented' number of water main breaks strikes St. Louis - KMOV.com

'Unprecedented' number of water main breaks strikes St. Louis

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A viewer shared this photo with News 4 of a water main break in Ladue on Lindworth Drive. A viewer shared this photo with News 4 of a water main break in Ladue on Lindworth Drive.
Nancy Nolting has been surrounded by ice after a water main break near her home.	(Credit: KMOV) Nancy Nolting has been surrounded by ice after a water main break near her home. (Credit: KMOV)

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- A Overland woman says she's surrounded by ice after a water main break near her home.    

Nancy Nolting says she wasn't getting much help from Missouri American Water, so she called News 4.

“You can't get anybody to help you. Nobody. I'm a 72 year old woman. I'm about to lose my mind,” she said.

Nolting has been dealing with a water main break in front of her house since Tuesday afternoon. While the ice has been growing in her front yard, her frustration has been growing as well.

“I couldn't tell ya how many phone calls have been made, I really don't know,” she said.

Part of the problem is two call centers are handling customers from 17 states. The St. Louis area isn’t the only part of the country dealing with the cold.

“The cold snap has hit the entire country,” said Brian Russell with Missouri American Water. “All 17 of our states are dealing with freezing conditions and broken water mains. So 17 states, customers all calling in. It overwhelmed our call center.”

Crews are working 16-hour shifts, 24 hours a day.

Missouri American Water has hired more than two dozen local contractors. Because much of the country is dealing with the same problem, there aren't out-of-state crews available to come to this area.

“For us, the average winter day might see 15 breaks, maybe 20,” Brian Russell said. “A lot of main breaks is 50, and I'd say since Saturday, we've repaired over 200 so we're in unprecedented territory at this point.”

Help eventually did show up for Nolting.

By Friday afternoon, a Missouri American Water crew had repaired the break in front of Nolting's house.

Then it was onto the next job.

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