Minnesota Deals with Water Main Breaks

Dozens of busted pipes keep restoration crews busy

While the experience of a slight warm-up in the Minnesota area was a welcome experience for many, it also came with a price. Certainly the above-zero temperatures was a positive sight for many, but the escape from the deep freeze also brought bursting water main pipes across the area.

When temperatures reached over 30 degrees from the previous negative-20, the fluctuation caused pipes to burst quite easily. Experts on the issue noted that the extremely low temperatures drove frost deep into the pipes, causing them to shift out of position. This put pressure on the now elderly water lines. The freezing also caused cracks in the pipes, which then allowed water to flow from them once water began to thaw.

“It’s just kind of inevitable,” said Josh Werner of Valley-Rich Co., the company that repaired a break Saturday in Wayzata.

The unfortunate break had hundreds detoured as there was a 7-hour cleanup necessary along Lake Minnetonka. Crews worked to fix cracked iron pipe sections and connected a water main onto another roadway.

It’s been a real busy last 10 days,” said Mike Olmstead, who is the Hennepin County senior engineer technician.

The city and its crews scrambled all week to fix pipes across the metro area. Burst pipes forced continual headaches for official and maintenance crews. Restoration workers dealt with the flooding at River Park Lofts and have been called dozens of homes and businesses.

“Over the last week, it’s just been crazy,” manager Richard Larson said. “Once it starts warming up, it gets busy. We’ve had crews basically working 24 hours a day.”

More breaks were noted in Wayzata, again thanks to the fluctuating temperatures. The area is now looking to undergo reconstruction at a larger scale than simple replacement as the stretch appears to be in intensive need. The most recent break left 12 homes without water for hours, but thankfully damaged no homes.

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