MUD crews work to stay ahead of increased number of water main breaks

Published: Jan. 5, 2017 at 4:24 PM CST
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All across the metro water mains are popping like popcorn, spraying water across streets and homeowners’ yards. Metropolitan Utility District officials say right now Omaha is in an extreme cycle.

Pipes are breaking all over the place this winter, even impacting metro traffic.

Jeff Bergers discovered a water main break Thursday morning in his front yard.

“Talked to the MUD guy this morning, very nice, he said they got this going on all over. He said they had six in the last two hours, they were hoping to have somebody here in two hours. It’s been a little while already,” said Bergers.

The water in front of Jeff’s house near 160th and Oak soon began to pool in the area. Metropolitan Utilities District officials say they've been dealing with water main breaks for months.

“This really is one of the worst we've seen. We had 96 water main breaks in December really they started just after Thanksgiving,” said Jeff Schovanec.

The cold water in the pipes combined with the pressure from the frozen ground is too much for the pipes to take especially the older brittle cast iron mains. There are 2,900 miles of water main under Omaha streets. Officials say 1,200 of those are the old cast iron mains.

“We're aggressively and continuing to grow a program to replace those oldest higher risk cast iron mains and we're doing 10 or more miles a year,” said Schovanec.

MUD will continue to grow the program to replace those old higher risk cast iron mains.

“Right now, I have water when they have to do the repair we're going to lose the water. I mean it’s six degrees out. It is what it is as long as they get here today, I’ll be good,” said Bergers.

The old cast iron mains are responsible for 90 percent of the water main breaks. MUD officials say they plan to grow the program replacing the old cast iron mains putting more resources into that program and hopefully over time they will need to dedicate less time to repairs.