Be on the lookout for even more ice on the roads than expected, as multiple broken water lines caused icy puddles on the roads in some places on Tuesday.
Public Utilities Director Shawn Guerin said some of the breaks were more severe than others.
“We’ve had probably eight leaks total in one day,” Guerin said. “It’s not been a good day.”
Busted underground pipes dumped water into the street, which iced over in the below-freezing temperatures. The city’s two repair crews prioritized major line breaks near the post office on B Street Southwest and on West Broadway Street as the city’s street department sanded roadways to keep the ice at bay.
Guerin said the plunging temperatures over the weekend aren’t to blame for the breaks themselves. Regulation state water lines need to be buried deep enough to prevent freezing. He said the more likely culprit is the drought the region has been under for the last few months.
“We have expanding soils with lots of clay,” Guerin said. “When it rains, it swells back up, and that can move pipes just a tiny bit. If there’s a weak spot, it could break.”
Guerin said some of Ardmore’s water pipes are older than others. Some are so old the city has no record of when they were installed.
“Some of these lines have been in for a really long time, a lot are pre-1950,” Guerin said. “We know they’re there because we dig them up all the time.”
Guerin said the crews are prioritizing major leaks and will have to address smaller ones on Wednesday.
“We did have a little bit of rain, but with the dry weather, the soil is dry, the pipes are shifting and moving and all of a sudden, when they break they all break,” Guerin said.