Akron averages 186 water main breaks a year.
The city has already surpassed that figure this year with only two months down.
“We’re going to set a record this year,” said Public Service Director John Moore. “We’ve got breaks every day.”
Akron was forced to hire two private companies to help keep up with the repairs. A water main break over the weekend left some Coventry Township residents without water from late Saturday until Monday night. The city issued a precautionary boil advisory for these residents.
Akron isn’t the only local city struggling with waterline breaks caused by the constant change in weather, with the freezing and thawing temperatures making the ground shift and the movement resulting in broken lines.
Eric Czetli, the new public service director in Cuyahoga Falls, said the city has had 36 waterline breaks since January, a figure that is significantly higher than the past few winters that have been much milder. A few of the breaks required boil advisories.
“That’s a lot for this length of time,” said Czetli, who has been service director for six weeks and has seen six snow storms in that time.
Czetli said the city finds out about breaks from the public calling or city workers or police officers noticing seeping water and alerting the service department. The city sends an employee out to see if the break needs to be fixed right away.
“If the water is going down the drain, it’s not a big issue,” Czetli said. “If it is pooling and we are afraid it will freeze, we bring a crew in.”
The repair workload in Akron has been too much for its employees to handle, prompting the city to contract with Kenmore Construction Co. and H M Miller Construction Co.
“We knew we would not be able to get to them fast enough,” Moore said. “At one time, we had nine leaking lines, 35 valves leaking and 52 fire hydrants leaking.”
A waterline break doesn’t always mean residents must go without water, Moore said.
“Generally, we can shut off valves and maintain service,” he said. “We don’t lose pressure.”
That wasn’t the case, however, when a water main broke late Saturday at Manchester Road and Carnegie Avenue in Coventry Township. Moore said the city was unable to reverse the flow of water around the break because of the way the valves were arranged. Akron didn’t have the equipment to fix the break because the asphalt was 2 feet thick. The city brought in H M Miller, which repaired the break by about 8 p.m. Monday.
The city has advised residents in the affected area to boil their water until the city gets test results back.
The alert applies to water customers between 2900 and 3011 Manchester Road, 2974 and 2991 Cormany Road and a single residence at 3037 South Prior Road. It includes the Lakeside Mobile Home Park on Manchester and the American Legion post on Cormany.
Visit www.akronohio.gov/water or call the Akron Water Distribution Dispatch at 330-375-2420 for updates.
Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @swarsmith and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/swarsmith. Read the Beacon Journal’s political blog at www.ohio.com/blogs/ohio-politics.