Breaking water mains in Sioux Falls

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — About 40 to 60 water main breaks happen a year in Sioux Falls. The two most recent breaks have happened within two weeks of each other.

The most recent break happened at the Empire Mall on Thursday.

KELOLAND News reached out to the Empire Mall. They offered KELOLAND this statement:

“The safety of our shoppers, employees and tenants is a top priority and while there was a water main break, due to freezing temperatures, to a water supply line at The Empire Mall, it had very little impact and there is no damage to the mall. We will remain open today as repairs are currently underway. Only a few food service tenants are currently closed and they are expected to resume normal operations this afternoon.”

Dan Gies, Empire Mall General Manager

Water mains are located six to eight feet underground. Pipes have to be under the frost-line so the water running through them doesn’t freeze. The location of water mains also makes it harder for the City of Sioux Falls water maintenance team to track and repair them. That’s because the ground is harder to break through.

Darin McDonnel is the Water Maintenance Supervisor for the City of Sioux Falls. He says water main breaks are likelier to occur when frost goes in and out of the ground.

“When it (a water main break) does happen, it takes about four hours to fix after locating the utilities,” McDonnel said.

That was the case for the break on Phillips Avenue February 4, 2020. McDonnel suspects the water main broke because of the fluctuating temperatures and due to the fact the water main has been in the ground for 100 years.

The water main is fixed, but the break was on a hill which caused extensive damage to the street.

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