Spring thaw blamed for water main break

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ROCHESTER, Minn (FOX 47) – While this week’s winter thaw is leading to potential flooding conditions from rain and melting snow, there’s another seasonal concern to be aware of.

As some residents are painfully aware warmer temperatures can also lead to shifts underground severe enough to break water mains.

Early Thursday morning, John Marshall High School maintenance crews noticed a lot of water this morning coming out of the road a few blocks east of campus. They called Rochester Public Utilities who assessed that area and determined it was indeed a water main break.

Mike Fallenstein has been living in his NW Rochester house for 35 years and says there are often water main breaks in his neighborhood.

“You can tell spring is here because they are out repairing the water main again on the street,” says Fallenstein.

In order to make repairs, RPU crews must shut off water service in the area. Although residents are given a heads up before the water gets turned off, it’s still an inconvenience.

“You do not realize how often that you actually use it until you do not have water,” says Fallenstein.

RPU says spring thawing plays a huge role in a water main break. “The shift of the earth changes and puts pressure on the pipes and that’s what breaks,” says RPU crew member Adam Hovden. “There’s probably rocks under it that are breaking the pipe.”

RPU crews were able to repaired the break in about four hours Thursday. They say the earlier someone reports a break the quicker they can get it fixed.

Residents can look for water shooting or bubbling up from a roadway as a telltale sign which is different from other types of flowing floodwater this time of year.



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