Friday, July 22, 2011
WHAT causes water main breaks? Cold weather, hot weather, soil shifting, inadequate infrastructure, aging infrastructure...
So if it's hotter than Hell in July and you bring in equipment that shakes entire houses on their foundation (i.e., moves the ground) wouldn't it stand to reason that seismic testing could in fact be the cause of a water main break?
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has some numbers on the water main breaks. Seems in a town concerned about running out of water, we'd spend more money on avoiding water main breaks than taking out full color, full page ads for the "Lawn Whisperer" telling residents to conserve water.
With the high temperatures, the ground starts to bake and the soil begins to move. Just as a house's foundation can suddenly develop cracks, so can the pipes carrying water to homes and businesses.
With 3,200 miles of waterlines and 3,100 miles of sewer lines, Fort Worth has a lot of opportunity for pipe breaks.
This month, Fort Worth has had 169 water main breaks, the most for a July since 2006. Part of the problem is that some cast-iron pipes are about a century old.
This summer's problems pale in comparison with July 1998, when a 36-inch water main broke, leaving most of downtown and the Medical District without water. At the time, one Water Department official ranked it as the city's third- or fourth-worst water-related problem in modern history, behind the 1949 flood and the drought of the mid-1950s.