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Tulsa Crews Work Around The Clock To Fix Broken Water Mains, More Expected

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There are over a thousand miles of 70-year-old cast iron pipe that could fail and cause a break. There are over a thousand miles of 70-year-old cast iron pipe that could fail and cause a break.
In only the past 10 days, crews have worked to repair 114 breaks. In only the past 10 days, crews have worked to repair 114 breaks.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Water crews in Tulsa are digging around the clock, repairing several water main breaks. Two of those water main breaks happened in front of some Tulsa Public Schools.

The schools, however, are not expected to close. The goal is to get the water turned on before school starts.

The water main break at 41st and Louisville is just one of 22 burst pipes crews are working to fix. A cold Tulsa winter has water crews working overtime.

More than 80 water main pipes have burst since Friday.

2/7/2014 Related Story: Water Main Breaks, Flooding West Tulsa Apartment

Rick Caruthers, the Water Distribution Manager said, "This is February. We're used to being busy in January in February, just like we are in July and August."

In January, crews repaired more than 200 water lines that flooded streets and apartments, leaving many customers without water.

Cold and dry conditions are causing the ground to shift, and the pipes to crack. City crews are working to replace a thousand miles of 70-year-old cast iron pipe, but it can't all be done at once.

Workers are putting more than 70 hour weeks to keep Tulsa's water flowing.

Clayton Edwards, with the Sewer and Water Department said, "This is not going to be a quick easy fix. It's going take some time to replace the lines that need to be replaced in the system."

Some breaks are so large, entire streets are being torn up because crews need to get to the pipes buried below.

Patrick Henry and Kendall Whittier Elementary Schools both had their water shut off so crews could make repairs. The district kept Patrick Henry open by trucking in bottled water, while crews waited to shut water off to Kendall Whittier until school let out.

Tulsa resident Kindyle Jackson, said, "It's hard. You can't shower. You can't cook dinner and I have two kids in the house, so it makes it very difficult."

Jackson lives across from Kendall Whittier. She noticed water bubbling up from underground.

"All this has been flooded and it gets up in the grass so I knew something was going on. We called the city about twice now and they finally came out this morning to start working on it," Jackson said.

The city's goal is to get each broken pipe fixed within 5 hours.

"As long as I'm staying warm and I have family to go and shower and you get fast food so it works I guess," said Jackson.

The city already budgets for water main break repairs, $9 million is set aside, and those brittle cast iron pipes are a thing of the past.

New PVC pipe is what's going in, most of those pipes are already in places like South Tulsa.

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