Thawing pipes this Spring

Construction in Albert Lea

KIMT News 3 –  We are all thinking Spring, and that includes those working in cities around our area.

In fact, city workers must think ahead, to prepare for possible problems.

“We’re looking at a heavier volume of water main breaks than normal.  Our normal winter we usually see around 20, this winter we’re projecting 50 to 60,” said Chris Lowe, Civil Engineer for the City of Albert Lea.

Lowe says his crews have been working hard to make sure they are able to fix each one.

He says this year’s winter has been especially brutal but he’s trying to make peace with it.

“It’s just the nature of the beast really we had a really cold winter, the frost is a lot deeper than normal so we do what we can,” said Lowe.

And that’s the same attitude in North Iowa as well.

Mason City City Engineer Mark Rahm is paying close attention to the weather.

He says deeper frost and different soil conditions are creating a dangerous mix.

“As it continues deeper we will see that differential shift in the sub-surface and with that the breaks then as its coming back out as the frost is coming back off the ground it will shift back into position,” said Rahm.

Many streets are already starting to see pipes bursting; Rahm just hopes it won’t be all at once come Spring.

“Just we’ve been so busy with these fixes, with a number of other things related to water issues, the city this winter it’s very unusual,” said Rahm.

And you can bet local workers will be very busy in the coming weeks.

“Obviously our crews will be working a lot of hours than normal so we do what we can,” said Rahm.

Rahm says this will be a winter he will never forget.

He says he has a few things to remember when workers are fixing a water main break in your neighborhood.

It will only take a couple hours, but your water will be shut off during that time.

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