Changing weather may cause a record number of waterline breaks in some local cities

AKRON, Ohio - Water departments throughout Northeast Ohio are scrambling to repair waterline breaks caused from a tough freezing and thawing cycle the past two months.

"The freeze line is much lower than we've experienced in the past, probably the last 20 or 30 years. We got a lot of things popping, a lot of things moving," said Rick Forsythe, Akron water distribution superintendent.

Forsythe said the city has responded to 210 waterline breaks in January and February alone. The city averages less than 200 breaks for an entire year.

He estimated workers have also made 500 repairs to frozen meters and house lines. In some years, only a couple of those types of repairs are made.

With that said, the city expects the number of fixes will set a record in 2014.

"We've been working overtime, 16-hour days, all weekend," Forsythe said.

The average amount of time residents are without water when a line breaks is three to four hours.

On Wednesday morning, folks living on Herbert Street in Mogadore were without water service for more than an hour as workers repaired an 8-inch waterline.

On the flip side, residents around Manchester Road and Carnegie Avenue in Coventry Township didn't have water for three days after a 16-inch main ruptured on Saturday.

Heather Willmer, who lives in a nearby trailer park, was frustrated the water wasn't restored until Monday evening.

"I have a 20-month old, so it was hard not having water and not being able to take showers, do clothes, do dishes, cook dinner," Willmer said.

A boil alert issued for the area was lifted on Wednesday afternoon.

Other cities are experiencing similar problems.

Cleveland has experienced 954 waterline breaks this winter which is 245 more than this time last winter.

Cuyahoga Falls crews have responded to 36 breaks which is above the city's average.

In Ravenna, 14 waterline ruptures this winter is triple what the city usually sees.

Forsythe advises residents to be patient if a breaks affects water pressure in neighborhoods.

"We do have a lot of breaks running that we can't get to. We're working around the clock, so be patient. Have some water stored just in case your service might thaw."

 

 

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