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City of Shreveport preps for water main breaks during winter - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

City of Shreveport preps for water main breaks during winter

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Shreveport city crews repair water main break on Hearne Ave. Thursday morning. Shreveport city crews repair water main break on Hearne Ave. Thursday morning.
SHREVEPORT, La. -

It's not a matter of "if", but "when" Shreveport's next water main will break, because many of those pipes date back to the early 1900's.

"There's only so much useful life out of something you bury," says Water & Sewage Director Barbara Featherston.

And with Old Man Winter already visiting the Ark-La-Tex, city crews will be kept busy as out-dated water mains struggle to fight the freeze.

Featherson says it generally takes several weeks of below freezing temperatures to cause a main to burst, meaning the ground's actually still too warm to be the culprit behind Thursday morning's break on Hearne Avenue.

That break left J.S. Clark Elementary School without water for a short time while crews worked to repair the pipe.

"We don't normally see issues with pipes breaking and things like that in the ground with these light temperatures."

Still, Featherston says the city tries to take a pro-active approach to prepping for the change in season.

"We make sure that we're stocked up on all the parts and pieces, crews are available, we're know that we're gonna be working a little overtime."

She says Shreveport sees anywhere from 3 to 10 water main breaks a day, and 250 repairs every month, numbers that aren't likely to decrease until the infrastructure is updated.

"We never get to the point where we have everything fixed all at once. We have some weeks where we'll get to everything that came in and maybe a couple of backlogs, and other weeks, we lose ground."

Featherston says the city is working to replace the old iron water main pipes with PVC material that's less likely to rust.

She adds that there are technologies that can rehab the pipes, but that it's very expensive, so it's easier and cheaper to install a new main.

She's also looking to add two more maintenance crews for water and sewage in the upcoming budget.

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