Severe Weather Alerts

BIG MESS: Several Water Main Breaks

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The mess began Wednesday afternoon, when crews were called to 49th and Douglas on a large 12 inch water main break. While repairing the damage, the pipe split in another spot causing more flooding through the night.

Homes and businesses along Merle Hay Road and Douglas were left without water including Young General Dental Practice, which was forced to cancel all appointments until water was restored.

“It affects it because our suction system works off suction so we aren`t able to see our patients,  only emergency`s we`re able to look at them but we can`t do a lot of treatment, we need water to rinse people`s mouths out,” says Dentist Phil Young.

Crews were also called out to 41st and Germania on an eight inch water main break.

It turned this street into a river, sending water rushing through yards and out into homes.

Bryan Huggins stayed up all night trying to keep his basement dry.

“I was down there trying to clean out the drains in my garage; i have two small little drains and was trying to keep the rest of the debris off of them so the rest of my basement wouldn`t flood,” says Bryan Huggins of Des Moines.

Water Works CEO Bill Stowe says the increase in pipes bursting around town can be linked to Iowa’s extreme drought this summer.

“With weather changes frost begins to go through it in a sacristy of moisture in the ground, so when that happens, the temperature transmits through the soil pretty quickly, and that`s unfortunately what we`ve seen in the last month or so,” says Bill Stowe.

The clean up and damage assessments are already underway, including at Huggins home.

His effort was no match for the rushing water, which reached his calf’s in some areas.

But still, he's not complaining. 

“We got the brunt of the flood, but it could have been much, much worse, I have twin 5 year olds, and I have a wife that`s seven months pregnant, so it`s could have been much, much worse so what do you do, you count your blessing and move on and clean up,” says Huggins.

Des Moines Water Works officials say from December of 2012 through January 3rd there have been more than 60 water main breaks in Des Moines.