GR: Large Number of Water Main Breaks This Winter

Posted at 5:49 PM, Feb 24, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-24 18:15:37-05

Grand Rapids, Mich. — (Feb. 24, 2014) The intersection at 28th and Eastern is still closed off following a water main break that was reported Friday night.

The weather has caused quite a few breaks for the city this winter.

During a normal winter season, Grand Rapids Water System Manager Joellen Thompson says they have around 80 breaks.

This year, she reports that they are at around 116.

The water was finally turned back on at the 28th street location at around 11:00 pm Saturday night.

Thompson said the break was difficult to find because the water actually bubbled up in a different location than where the break was.

With the type of heavy pavement on 28th street, Thompson said the water was trapped under the street.

“It was difficult to find because the water came up in the middle of the left turn lane over there, as you are turning onto Eastern,” said Thompson. “But, actually the break was not there, the break was about 30 feet to the north. As the contractor opened the hole, the water was coming inside and it was difficult to tell exactly where it was coming from.”

She attributes a large number of breaks to the frost level this year, which is much deeper.

“This winter is really hard. The frost level has been pushed down farther than normal,” said Thompson. “Our pipes are buried at about 5 feet, almost 6 feet deep, but the frost level is going down to 5 feet and even lower in some places. So, when the frost freezes that far, it causes movement and extra stress on the pipes.”