Cold Busts Through Des Moines Water Mains - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Cold Busts Through Des Moines Water Mains

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Addie Olson


As the bitter cold-snap crept through Des Moines over the past week, it also snapped several of the metro's water mains.

Des Moines Water Works calls the number of streets that have been left an icy mess "unusually high."

"We've had about 30 water main breaks from last Friday until today," Des Moines Water Works CEO Bill Stowe said Thursday.

Workers struggled through the freezing cold to patch up all the breaks.

"It's unusual and pretty difficult for folks who have to do it," Stowe said of the workers.

Des Moines' aging water main system and several days of sub–zero temperatures made mains burst by the dozen.

"The cold penetrates through the ground and our pipes are at about the right depth unfortunately to be caught up in that lowering of the frost line," Stowe said. 

More water main breaks block city streets during winter weather every year, but milder weather is on the way.

Water Works hopes they don't have to work through another stretch of such bitter, brutal cold.

"I'm sure we'll unfortunately continue to have main breaks but hopefully nothing like 30 in the space of about six days," Stowe said.

The city only averages about 300 breaks a year and about half of those take place in the winter months.

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