Winter Wreaks Havoc on Water Pipes for Nebraska Utility

Omaha deals with record number of water main breaks in December

Winter Wreaks Havoc on Water Pipes for Nebraska Utility
(Photo by WOWT 6 News)

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The Metropolitan Utilities District in Omaha, Nebraska, had 96 water main breaks in December, a record for the utility in that month, according to a report by WOWT 6 News.

And it hasn’t slowed down for the utility. Earlier this month, nine breaks occurred in a 24-hour period.

For utilities in cold-weather climates, winter means frigid water running through systems and other factors like ground shifting as it freezes, so water main breaks are inevitable. Exacerbating the problem in Omaha at the moment, is the fact that 1,220 miles of the 2,900-mile water distribution is made of cast iron, a material that is especially rigid and brittle. About 90 percent of the breaks have been old cast iron.

“This really is one of the worst we’ve seen,” Jeff Schovanec, the utility’s director of engineering design, told WOWT 6 News about the recent period of water main breaks. “We’re aggressively and continuing to grow a program to replace those oldest higher risk cast iron mains and we’re doing 10 or more miles a year.”

Source: WOWT 6 News

How has the water main break situation been for your utility so far this winter season? Has your utility largely been in reactive mode or has it been trying to maintain a replacement program to limit the amount of time and resources allotted toward repairs? Comment below or email


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