Midstate water crews brace for more pipe breaks as temps dip - WSMV News 4

Midstate water crews brace for more pipe breaks as temps dip

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(WSMV) (WSMV)
SMYRNA, TN (WSMV) -

As Middle Tennessee gets ready for a drastic change in the temperature, water departments are bracing for another round of potential pipe breaks.

On Wednesday, crews dug a big hole to repair a water main break in Nashville, and the action isn't over yet.

"Where it really starts to become an issue is when we get in the low 20s, the teens, the single digits," said Mark Parker, the assistant director of the Smyrna Utilities Department.

The weather is expected to get that cold later this week, and Parker said his crews will be ready.

"That's the key is having the inventory and repair parts on hand so that when those breaks do occur, you can get in there and repair them as quickly as possible. These main repairs can take anywhere from four to eight hours," Parker said.

It gets tricky when the ground suddenly freezes and then thaws. Weak pipes can crack in those conditions.

Crews hope that when they dig up dirt, the pipes are properly supported.

"If they are, those lines can take a lot colder temperatures, a lot more abuse from the weather than a line wasn't properly supported or back filled," Parker said.

Some departments like Metro Nashville Water Services use underground technology to find leaks, so crews can repair them before a pipe breaks and resident won't have to deal with flooded streets and icy roads from the water.

"You're in a wet environment, trying to stay warm, trying to get water on as quickly as you can and those repairs are not easy," Parker said.

If you see any settling or dipping where a water main should be, water officials said that's a sign that it may not be properly supported and could have a break in the future.

If you do see a water line break, contact your local water department to report it.

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