YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — There have been a number of water main breaks in the Valley this summer. Monday morning alone saw breaks in Hubbard and Boardman. First News is looking into the possible causes.
Many breaks cause lane or road closures, inconveniencing drivers, residents, businesses and repairmen.
“It cuts off service because, instead of the water being in the pipe itself. It’s exploding, going through the ground and blowing up a road,” says Mahoning County engineer Pat Ginnetti.
Ginnetti says weather is a major cause of recent main breakages.
“As dry as it is, that’s a major factor. Most people think that the water breaks only occur when the ground freezes. And it seems like we actually have more in the dry part of the summer. And it’s due to the ground shrinking and basically the weak points,” says Ginnetti.
Other factors include the combination of old infrastructure, such as an old piece of pipe.
“It could be just a small, little leak that over time grows, that turns into something bigger,” says Ginnetti.
According to Ginnetti, the breaks are not due to negligence, and he says they’re accidental.
However, there are some projects cities can do to be proactive. This includes continually replacing old pipes and updating current infrastructure. Even though the process is difficult, there’s usually a plan in place, says Ginnetti.
Replacing old lines and updating current ones could ultimately save money on repair costs as well.
“We don’t budget specifically for any individual or certain type of break, but we do leave certain monies aside for situations like that,” says Ginnetti.