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City Manager's Corner

Feb 10

[ARCHIVED] Winter water main breaks not uncommon

The original item was published from February 10, 2021 9:22 AM to February 10, 2021 4:14 PM

As we enter the February part of winter in southwest Michigan, neighbors have noticed that we have reported multiple water main breaks in a short period of time.

Most of the time - and this is true now - the fluctuating temperatures cause water main breaks. This is why we see an increase in the number of breaks during winter months.

The freezing temperatures drive the frost into the ground, causing the soil to move. When we experience temperatures warming and cooling throughout the winter, this process can happen over and over, causing additional breaks as the soils press on the pipes.

Sometimes we need to issue a boil water advisory once crews repair a main break. This depends on the repair; if the crew has to drain the water main or experiences negative water pressure, they will issue a boil advisory. These situations could allow bacteria into the system, so a boil advisory is always a precaution in this scenario. Typically, in 24 hours, we can cancel those advisories.

Once crews complete a repair, they typically release air from the water system by flushing nearby fire hydrants. However, you might see some air release from your faucet, because it can become trapped in home service pipes before crews flush it out.

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Two men in work vests and hard hats stand next to hole in street, with excavator nearby