Heat Causing Tulsa Water Lines To Break

Wednesday, August 4th 2010, 7:53 am
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- As the temperature rises, water use skyrockets. That's straining Tulsa's water system.

Water lines are bearing the brunt of our unbearable weather. And it's only going to get worse the hotter it gets, and the longer the heat wave lasts.

Almost as consistent as Old Faithful, when it gets this hot, Oklahoma starts seeing our own geisers.

A water line rupture caused a gusher at 11th and Delaware in Tulsa.

"Usually in the summertime, we have splits. It will blow out the pipe and split, or blow out the side of the pipe or stuff like that," said Joe Lee, Tulsa Field Supervisor.

Water department field supervisor Joe Lee said, across Oklahoma, the heat and dry conditions can take a toll on water lines, especially aging ones.

"The older they are, the more fragile they are," Lee said. "They've been in the ground a lot longer and sure."

Lee said for one, the dry ground can shift, causing ruptures. But that's more common in winter.

In most cases right now, a jump in water usage is to blame.

"When you get that much volume, and that much pressure, it's going to cause breaks," he said.

A 36-inch water line rupture near Tulsa's Mohawk distribution center is also keeping crews busy and prompting water conservation efforts in Bixby, which gets its water from Tulsa.

8/3/2010 Related Story: Bixby Residents Urged To Conserve Water

"To ensure that we have adequate water supplies here during this period," Doug Enevoldsen, Bixby City Manager, said.

The splash pad at Bentley Park, usually a summertime oasis, is bone dry and closed to conserve water.

The city is also asking residents to voluntarily limit their water usage, like watering their yards, until repair work is finished.

Water crews will keep trouble shooting and asking for patience while fixing lines busted by our back breaking heat wave.

"It's a hot, thankless job and in the winter it's a cold thankless job," Lee said.

The water line on North Harvard should be repaired by Friday.

And despite what many people might think, rather than the summer months, February is usually the worst month of the year for water line breaks in Tulsa.