City crews are battling water main breaks, day and night. Nine ruptures were reported Friday, 16 have been reported since Thursday. All of the breaks involve an at least six inch water line that can serve up to 40 homes.
News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says that all over the city repair crews are battling the elements to keep the water flowing.
Crews have been out all night working in the water and the cold. More of the lines are breaking now because the dry soil is getting wetter from the melting snow, and the changing temperature is making the soil move.
"The weather and the soil, this old Oklahoma ground moving back and forth," Tulsa utility worker Ron Love said.
Love and his crew worked into the night on a big break by Woodward Park. It blew out the sidewalk because it was a major line that supplies the fire hydrants.
"Had the sidewalk lifted up pretty high, it looked pretty cool," said Love.
It takes three men most of a work shift to fix just one break like this, and afterward another crew comes in to repave it.
It's hard work, made more difficult in cold weather. And it's partially caused by cold weather, but mainly by changing amounts of moisture in the soil. All the melting snow expands the soil and likely caused one rupture on 31st Street.
"Being that we haven't had a lot of rain, and if we get a lot of rain, or something like that, then we expect to experience quite a few more,â€ said Calvin Williams, utility operations manager.
Calvin Williams manages the crews. He's got seven of them out; more are on standby so they can respond as soon as the reports come in.
Water line breaks can be reported around the clock to the Mayor's Action Center at 596-2100. They can also be reported online through our website kotv.com. Both systems get word to the water department right away so at least the leak can be stopped quickly, and repairs started.