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SF Water Mains Break In Frigid Weather

December 23, 2013, 6:00 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

SF Water Mains Break In Frigid Weather

The subzero weather that started in early December continues to keep KELOLAND in a deep freeze.

The frigid weather is having an effect on just about everything as wind chills remain well below zero. On Monday, city crews were dealing with the second water main break this month because of the cold.

"If you have these freezing problems underground then it will cause some problems for you," Jeff Dunn with Sioux Falls Public Works said.

The water main that broke Monday closed a portion of North Franklin Avenue in central Sioux Falls.

"It starts to freeze up sometimes that ground will shift and subtle shifts in the ground will sometimes create problems with the pipe itself," Dunn said.

Dunn says water main breaks happen when the ground freezes and starts affecting the pipes that are buried six feet underground. Dunn says it doesn't matter if the pipe is old or new; water main breaks largely depend on the type of soil and the amount of water in the ground.

"We're doing well. We didn't get a lot of moisture over the summer and in the spring so we don't have a lot of saturated soils that are going to freeze up," Dunn said.

Dunn says the city hasn't seen a surge of water main breaks this year because of the colder weather. The number of breaks so far this winter is about average.

When a break does happen, city crews are on standby 24 hours a day to get it fixed as quickly as possible.

"Once we find out about them, we are on target to get them fixed within a couple hours. If it's something that can be fixed in that amount of time, we'll take care of it," Dunn said.

Only a few businesses were without water following the water main break Monday. Crews had the pipe fixed by noon.

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