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#4619756 - 12/31/17 02:13 PM Water mains
OVERKILL Offline


Registered: 04/28/08
Posts: 36428
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Over the last week it seems that we've had an epidemic of water main breaks around the city, like one a day (probably not that frequent in reality but it seems like it).

Seems the cold is really wreaking havoc.

Anybody else observing something similar around their area?
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#4619762 - 12/31/17 02:15 PM Re: Water mains [Re: OVERKILL]
Reddy45 Offline


Registered: 08/15/08
Posts: 2963
Loc: USA
How cold does the water come out of your tap? Just curious.

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#4619767 - 12/31/17 02:17 PM Re: Water mains [Re: OVERKILL]
madRiver Offline


Registered: 07/11/15
Posts: 3533
Loc: New England
Nope and abnormally cold around here.

It may just be your area has really old water mains or they were never installed deep enough out of frost line. The ones that break here are close to a 100 year old typically.

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#4619777 - 12/31/17 02:27 PM Re: Water mains [Re: OVERKILL]
Mr Nice Offline


Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 21182
Loc: Orlando, FL
Yep, lots of areas have very old water pipes and only a matter of time before a major leak happens.

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#4619794 - 12/31/17 02:42 PM Re: Water mains [Re: OVERKILL]
JustinH Offline


Registered: 04/17/04
Posts: 5174
Loc: Texas
Have heard of lots of water issues in Niagara Falls, NY as well. That city is literally going down the tubes.
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#4619806 - 12/31/17 02:49 PM Re: Water mains [Re: OVERKILL]
Garak Offline


Registered: 12/05/09
Posts: 24574
Loc: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally Posted By: OVERKILL
Anybody else observing something similar around their area?

Ours have settled down, mostly. Ironically, all of ours, and we had a bunch, were in the summer, thanks to the dryness and the shifting soil.
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#4619814 - 12/31/17 02:54 PM Re: Water mains [Re: madRiver]
Mr Nice Offline


Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 21182
Loc: Orlando, FL
Originally Posted By: madRiver
Nope and abnormally cold around here.

It may just be your area has really old water mains or they were never installed deep enough out of frost line. The ones that break here are close to a 100 year old typically.


That's very typical for lots of cities. Once paved over these pipes were forgotten about until the bust open and cause major problems.

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#4619818 - 12/31/17 02:58 PM Re: Water mains [Re: madRiver]
OVERKILL Offline


Registered: 04/28/08
Posts: 36428
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: madRiver
Nope and abnormally cold around here.

It may just be your area has really old water mains or they were never installed deep enough out of frost line. The ones that break here are close to a 100 year old typically.


They've been doing a rolling water main refresh over the last decade roughly and aren't close to done yet, so your observation is correct. I just don't recall this many breaking in the winter before, despite the age shrug
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#4619821 - 12/31/17 03:00 PM Re: Water mains [Re: Reddy45]
OVERKILL Offline


Registered: 04/28/08
Posts: 36428
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Reddy45
How cold does the water come out of your tap? Just curious.


I lack a thermometer that would work for that purpose, but that's a good question!
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#4619844 - 12/31/17 03:20 PM Re: Water mains [Re: CT8]
simple_gifts Offline


Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 11943
Loc: Middlesex County CT
Originally Posted By: CT8
The tax and fee money is stolen by the politician and government employee crime gang instead of being put into infrastructure repairs.


To some people they are the source of EVERY issue; problem with your narrative is our water company is a publicly traded company.

I suppose it went to money grubbing investors and overpaid CEO's?

I've had two breaks directly in front of my house in the last 10 years. I am on the 'end of a line' (last house) so the line is capped; the leaks were slow, the WC took a few days to patch it even after it was determined a leak had occurred.


Edited by simple_gifts (12/31/17 03:21 PM)
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#4619890 - 12/31/17 04:08 PM Re: Water mains [Re: OVERKILL]
Blkstanger Offline


Registered: 08/13/11
Posts: 1945
Loc: Lakeside, CA
Water mains break all the time here in San Diego. Our roads are all torn up also. I live out in the hills and we do a little better than being inside the City limits.
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#4619919 - 12/31/17 04:33 PM Re: Water mains [Re: OVERKILL]
JLawrence08648 Offline


Registered: 01/20/17
Posts: 232
Loc: NJ
Water mains break because they are cast iron and they don't give. Cat iron is brittle. If they bought the more expensive steel, wouldn't have that problem as steel flexes.

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#4619923 - 12/31/17 04:35 PM Re: Water mains [Re: OVERKILL]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 41768
Loc: New Jersey
I have to wonder if it is temperature dependent or what. There was one near where I work in November, but that's the only one Ive recalled in quite a while. We had one on our street a few years back, but it was no big deal.

When it's cold and dry apparently trees go after pipes, just like they do in droughts.

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#4619935 - 12/31/17 05:03 PM Re: Water mains [Re: OVERKILL]
Shannow Offline


Registered: 12/12/02
Posts: 39846
Loc: 'Stralia
Underground pipes, if they are anything like Oz would have been installed in Asbestos Cement...Different Parts of my career I've managed 20 or so miles of above and below ground Asbestos Cement pipes...

The joints (shown below) are typically a muff type coupling, set up so that one end is spigotted, and the other has the ability to be moved through a couple of degrees...typically no bends (when they do, they are thrust blocked), but sweeping long radius curves...imagine stacking lengths of spaghetti end to end and then pressing on the free ends it wants to buckle...the bedding stops it.



Over the years, the O rings take a set and don't respond well to movement...crud builds up in the gaps, and pressures the O rings if the pipe moves. The crud also pressures the muff coupling and splits them.

So a coupling fails...dig it up, cut the pipe, and put one of these in...


So now there's two more degrees of freedom in the repaired bit, and the whole spaghetti string has to sort itself out again when it's repressurised...there goes the next weakest link.

Every leak that I fixed required at least two more pipe outages to fix the leaks arising after the repair.

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#4619938 - 12/31/17 05:07 PM Re: Water mains [Re: OVERKILL]
eyeofthetiger Offline


Registered: 11/18/17
Posts: 683
Loc: South Carolina
City gave me a new water main last year (and ruined my driveway, blew a pipe in my house, and cut my underground cable).
With the new ultra cold weather coming, I spent all day insulating the pipes in my house.
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