Above Freezing Temps Don't Mean A Break From Busted Water Mains

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Many of us are probably very excited to hear that we'll be above freezing for several days, this will be a good opportunity for those frozen water pipes to thaw out, but other problems may pop up as a result of this warm up.

Public works crews in Rockford are bracing for additional water main breaks in the coming days. Earlier this winter, water main breaks occurred due to the extreme cold; this upcoming week, the thaw may cause the ground to shift which and cause water main breaks. As the frost leaves the ground, the earth moves and that movement could cause already stressed water lines to bust. This winter the city of Rockford is averaging 2 water main breaks every day. Other cities have reported increases in water main breaks from the cold. The ground typically thaws from the top down so even when we think it’s warm, the ground is still frozen.

“These water lines, they're freezing up at 20 to 30 a day. We've probably had 40 calls today. They're saying ‘How come its freezing, it’s not as cold as it was?’ but the frost is still down in the ground and if you don't keep that little stream of water running in your faucet, you have a good chance of your pipes freezing,” says Rockford Public Works Director Tim Hanson.

He advises that you run a trickle of water the width of a pen from your faucet to prevent pipes from freezing. The North Park Public Water District has asked neighbors to do the same if they live south of Illinois Rt. 173 to Windsor Rd and East of Illinois Rt. 251 to Mildred Road.

Even though we're excited for a relative warm up, it’s going to cause the pavement to shift and possibly buckle as the frost leaves the ground, meaning we will likely see more potholes this spring.

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