Freezing temperatures combined with shifting earth triggered water main breaks around Columbia Friday. Crews worked at multiple sites throughout the day to address the problem.
Some locations include 24 S Ninth St., 705 Marion Drive, 133 Business Loop and 1025 Ashland Road, according to a tweet from Columbia Water and Light. About 15 businesses have been impacted by the water main break at 24 S Ninth St, estimated William Strawn, water distribution superintendent, in a meeting Friday.
Water and Light crews fixed the 1025 Ashland Road and the 705 Marion Drive breaks with pressure. There will be a boil advisory for the break at 24 S Ninth St. Water will be provided for people impacted by the 24 S Ninth St. break, said Water and Light representatives.
“It normally takes about 30 hours to get off of a boil advisory,” Strawn said. “That gives us enough time to run some tables and to make sure everything’s safe to drink.”
Because of the clay types in Missouri and temperature ranges that can move the ground around, it is hard to prevent water breaks, said Shawn Carrico, a Water and Light engineer.
“The ground is shifting,” Strawn said. “We have a lot of clay in the area and when that shifts, the main just snaps in two. This is pretty common for cast iron.”
Most of the methods used to prevent water main breaks are put in place at the time the pipe is laid in the ground. For example, engineers make sure there’s nothing up against the main, such as a large rock or another utility. Despite these precautions, there are many unknowns that could cause a main to break.
“There’s no real rhyme or reason to preventing them. We do everything we can to minimize it,” Carrico said.
As freezing weather breezes through Columbia, road conditions and black ice are something to keep an eye on.
Along with triggering water main breaks, severe cold temperatures and snow lead to dangerous road conditions.
City of Columbia’s Public Works department dispatched a plow crew at 9 a.m. Wednesday to handle the fallout of this week’s icy conditions and further clear up the roads.
According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, major routes and highways in the city are either completely or mostly cleared.
The U.S. is expected to see more bone-chilling temperatures next week as major snow storms tear through the Midwest and Northeast. A freezing snow storm will sweep across the Midwest Friday night through Saturday. Affected states, such as Oklahoma, Kansas and Southern Missouri, may enter single digit weather and possibly see an accumulation of several inches of snow.