Summer heat brings increase in water main breaks, leaks

Published: Jul. 20, 2018 at 5:39 AM CDT
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Another wave of elevated temperatures means Wichita residents use more water to keep plants, pets, and themselves hydrated.

The city says on average, most people use more water during the hot summer months. That extra water can put a strain on the city's water supply.

According to Don Henry with Wichita Public Works and Utilities, breaks in the main lines and leaks are more common during June, July, and August.

When a leak or break is present in a home, crews have to shut off the water for a few hours while it gets repaired.

Henry says when the city repairs the leaks, all the work is factored into the rates. It doesn't affect taxpayers because it's in the city's budget.

"Right now, we are seeing two leaks a day, which is probably pretty good if you look at other communities and what they put up with, I would say it's a routine part of doing business."

Crews were out Thursday fixing water lines despite temperatures soaring into the 100s.

In the summer months, demand picks up for water utility workers because residents are using more water. The higher volume of water causes added pressure to the water system.

Henry says there are meetings each year to remind their workers about the dangers of being out in the heat too long.

According to Osha, thousands of workers get sick from occupational heat exposure each year.

"In the hot weather they've been going out and taking care of these couple of leaks a day and each year when we move into the hot season. We have safety meetings, reminding employees of the dangers of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, through the buddy system, watch out for each other, we supply plenty of ice and cool water."