WATER MAINS BREAKS: Crews Busy Repairing Pipes

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The continuous cold temperatures caused dozens of water main breaks across the metro.

One neighborhood got hit hard with two burst pipes on the same street, leaving customers without water for more than a day.

Crews are working around the clock responding to more than thirty water main breaks since the first of the year.

When Colleen and Dave Deets spotted a break on their street, they raced to store as much water as possible before crews shut off service to make repairs.

“I got some buckets out of the garage and filled them up and set them in the tub and some other things,” says Dave Deets of Des Moines.

The buckets have served as their water supply since Tuesday evening, making even simple tasks a challenge.

“You go to brush your teeth in the morning and you have to remember you don`t have any water so you have to go dip it out of a pan and get it that way,” says Colleen Deets.

With Des Moines' aging water system, breaks are a constant problem.   The city budgets $1.5 million every year to make repairs.

“We put additional crews on call, we stock up on materials, we do get prepared, we expect it,” says Des Moines Water Works Director of Water Distribution Ted Corrigan.

But even with extra crews and materials, the large number of breaks have meant extended hassle for customers.

“We realize that water main breaks are a significant inconvenience to our customers and the traveling public, and it is our goal to respond as quickly as we can and get the customer back in service as quickly as possible,” says Corrigan.

At Southwest 2nd and Park the Deets were excited water was being restored, but just as quickly as it came back on, they were hit with some more bad news.

“We had water back on but it didn`t last very long only probably an hour and a half, they let us know that there was another break up here on Hughes so we were without water again,” says Dave Deets.

Going into their second night without water, the Deets say although it's frustrating it's something that just goes along with Iowa winters.

“That`s part of life I guess,” says Dave Deets.

Once water is restored, some customers will be under a boil order.

Customers who do not receive a notice for a boil order are asked to slowly turn their water back on once it is restored.

Officials recommend turning on water in a bathtub or a faucet without a screen on it first. Customers are asked to let the water run until it is clear, then slowly turn on all other faucets in the home to make sure water is working properly.

If you need assistance or suspect a water main break you can call a 24-hour hotline at 515-283-8700.

Click here for a  complete list of current outages.

Des Moines Water Works says half of all water main breaks for the year happen between December and February.

There are around 300 breaks during an average year.

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