Southeastern Wisconsin experiences 'typical' increase in water main breaks during winter months

NOW: Southeastern Wisconsin experiences ’typical’ increase in water main breaks during winter months

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Local municipalities are responding to a typical amount of water main breaks for winter.

If you scroll through the city of West Allis's Twitter feed, you'll notice a lot of water main break alerts in the last couple of weeks. However, it's actually pretty normal to see that this time of year.

The city's water superintendent said an aging infrastructure and big temperature swings increase the number of breaks.

It's by luck Waukesha is having a slower season, but Waukesha Water Utility's Dan Duchniak said that could change at any point.

"Typically, January and February would be the months where you experience the higher number of main breaks in our systems," Duchniak said.

Duchniak explained that the frequency of breaks increases when there's frost in the ground. The frost can move the ground.

"If you have that corrosion or something happening to the pipes and that ground moves, that's when you'll see the water main breaks," Duchniak said. 

CBS 58 meteorologist Sam Kuffel said the temperatures are cooler the farther you get from Lake Michigan.

"The ground temperatures right now are in the upper teens to 20 degrees. So, the ground is pretty well frozen," Kuffel said. "Our average temperatures are actually starting to warm now. Very slowly, but surely."

Milwaukee crews are on stand-by, day and night, to fix a break when it happens. Water Administration Manager Patrick Pauly said it's rare for water outages to last longer than 12 hours.

"We do mobilize very quickly and attempt to make repairs on those water main breaks as soon as possible," Pauly said.

If you notice water pooling the street or yard, call your water utility service.

Share this article: