News Feature | July 24, 2017

Heat Wave Prompts Bevy Of Main Breaks In St. Louis

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

watermainbreak reg new

It’s so hot in St. Louis County, MO, that water mains are bursting at a higher rate than usual.

Missouri American Water said excessive heat appears to be linked to a sharp increase in water main breaks.

“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," Brian Russell, company spokesman, told KMOV. The rate has since dropped to one break per day.

Russell explained that hot weather dries the soil out, causing cracks, which can affect water lines buried in the earth, the report said.

"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," Russell said, per the report.

Residents took note of the water main challenges across the county.

“Many St. Louis City residents and businesses experienced a drop in water pressure because of at least 17 main breaks throughout the city, but a number of them in south St. Louis,” Fox 2 Now reported during the heat wave.

The water utility has taken steps to ensure workers are safe on the job in the hot weather.

"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 overheated," said Carl White, operations supervisor for Missouri American Water, per the report.

Officials in Missouri are warning residents to be careful in the heat.

“Meteorologist Dan Hawblitzel with the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill says people can become dehydrated before they even notice they're thirsty — and in the summer, it can even happen during the night,” Missouri News Service reported.

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