City’s Crews Deal with Water Main Breaks

Monday, January 8, 2018, 3:52 pm
Alice Dreger

It’s that time of year again, when water main breaks are extra challenging to repair because of cold, snow, and ice. The East Lansing Police Department sent out a notice this morning that East Lansing Department of Public Works crews were working to repair a break on Grand River Avenue at Maplewood Drive (just east of Hagadorn Road), saying it would likely take all day. Late last night, crews were dealing with another break on Northlawn Avenue near Harrison Road, in the Glencairn neighborhood.

Ron Lacasse, Intrastructure Administrator for East Lansing, tells ELi this afternoon that, “It’s always difficult to determine the exact cause of a water main break. Many times it is a combination of several factors including the type of pipe, age of the pipe, changes in ground temperature, changes in soil moisture content, the type of soil around the pipe, rocks or other hard debris around the pipe,” or something else.

Crews working in Glencairn last night faced particularly challenging weather, as sleet was raining down on top of snow and ice in the roadway. The photo above, taken by an ELi reader, shows the crews using fire to melt ice over a valve they needed to access.

Says Lacasse, that particular water main break “ended up being [caused by] a crack in the pipe that was fixed with a repair clamp.” Water to houses in the area had to be temporarily shut off. Lacasse tells ELi, “The main has been repaired with a repair clamp that is designed to last for the remaining life of the water main.”

Water flooding a street at this time of year is often a sign of a water main break. Suspected water main breaks should be immediately reported to the non-emergency number of the East Lansing Police Department: 517-351-4220.

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