Given the unseasonably cooler temperature during the past couple of days, it does not appear to be the season for water line breaks.
But it is July, which typically means scorching temperatures.
It is during this time of year residents see numerous water line breaks popping up across the city. Sean Geurin, city director of utilities, says Ardmore experienced 1,100 breaks in 2013 and 990 the year before.
Given the number of water line breaks, the city has a method for dealing with the breaks depending on the size and situation of each incident as well as when it occurs.
“The general rule is if it is a serious issue causing problems, they will fix it over the weekend,” city manager J.D. Spohn said. “If it is a small, insignificant break, they will mark it and fix it at the beginning of the week. Each one has its own set of circumstances.”
Spohn said there is an on-call person with the water department who will call out a crew if the water line break is significant. But smaller lines, such as an one-inch line, do not necessarily constitute an emergency. Smaller lines are also considered lower on the chain in terms of priority when the city is dealing with multiple issues. The city places a barricade or a blue flag at the spot to let people know they are aware of the situation.
“In the summer, we have quite a few water leaks,” Spohn said. “About this time last year, we had a laundry list. It took as long as two weeks to get to the smaller ones. It’s not really something we can control, but react to as quick as we can.”
Should the break be a large one, Blake Rudd, assistant utility director, says the city will try to keep everybody in water as long as possible before turning it off.
“It affects other people,” he said. “If it’s a six-inch pipe with a hole, we want to keep people with water, but we also don’t want to waste a lot of water. It could also be a situation where we have to turn 10 to 12 valves for one section, and it leaves a lot of people without water.”
Spohn said the issue becomes prevalent during the summer because the ground shifts more.
“We either get a lot of rain or no rain, either one can cause the ground to shift,” Spohn said. “There is also a lot more use of water as well.”
Spohn said this year there have been fewer problems, which can be attributed to an ongoing effort to replace older lines within the city.