Water line breaks expected to increase in Tulsa

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Story by: Janai Norman
Updated: 12/03/2013 11:31 am Published: 12/03/2013 5:39 am

Water line break in East Tulsa now City crews are repairing a water main that broke near East 41st Street and Memorial early Tuesday morning, and FOX23 is learning it’s the 34th break in just eight days and the problem could still worsen.

According to numbers from the city’s water department, crews were called to 77 water breaks in the month of November, but the numbers for December are anticipated to be larger.

“Weather conditions will break pipe and it really doesn’t matter the age or the condition of the pipe,” Utility System Operations Manager John Richardson said. “If the soil moves enough, it’s going to break it.”
That’s what some city employees are anticipating later this week when winter weather moved through Tulsa.

Richardson says weather conditions and pressure are often the two main contributors.

“The breaks we’re seeing right now are a combination of both,” he explained. “Some are pressure, some are movement within the soil.”

Cold weather contributes directly to that—movement in the soil.

Richardson says extreme heat in July and August works similarly as deep freezes in December and January when he expects to see the highest number of water line breaks.

“Anytime you get weather conditions, it’s going to move the soil,” Richardson said. “It just depends on how long the cold weather lasts what we can expect to see.”

According to the city’s data, we can expect to see about 131 breaks this month, that’s the average number of waterline breaks in December over the last five years.

As for the manpower to work those breaks, FOX23 discovered the water department always has crews on the clock or on standby, and they have contractors for extra backup just in case.

“There is never a time where we don’t have at least standby crews that we can bring in,” Richardson told FOX23. “Whatever the situation is we’re ready for it.”
under control

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