While this may be “the hap-happiest season of all,” dealing with traffic issues can really put that phrase to the test. After all, we’ve got parties for hosting, marshmallows for roasting and much mistltoeing to do. Who’s got time for a detour?!
Bursting water mains, though, are the victim of one of the very things that we love the most about Colorado Springs – the weather. You know what I mean. It can be snowy and 15 degrees one day then sunny and 50 the next. Or, maybe we have a cold snap for a week and then we get back to normal. That’s what we call the freeze/thaw cycle.
When the temperatures change that much, the ground around the water mains shift, putting extra pressure on pipes. The weather also affects the temperature of the water running through the pipes. Water temperatures below 40 degrees can cause pipes to become more brittle. Of course, the size, material and age of the pipe come into play as well.
Precipitation is another variable in the freeze/thaw cycle. Moisture contributes to the soil expanding and contracting as it freezes and then thaws again.
In December, so far, we’ve had 23 water main breaks. That may seem like quite a bit, but our seven-year average for the month of December is 30. With half the month remaining, we should end up right around that average.
It’s difficult to predict what’s going on underground, but it’s nice knowing we have crews who respond at all hours of the day/night and in all weather conditions to keep the water flowing to our homes and businesses during this “the most wonderful time of the year!”