Winter weather causes water main breaks across Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT)  –  The city of Topeka said that harsh winter weather is to blame for water main breaks across the city. City workers have responded to dozens of breaks across Topeka over the past month.

“When it’s cold and dry, which is what we’re seeing right now, the ground contracts and shifts and our mains don’t flex like that so they tend to break,” said Ryan Woolaway, community education manager for the Topeka Utilities Department.

Woolaway said the breaks become more common when temperatures fall below 20 degrees.

The Topeka City Council voted last month to raise utility rates in order to invest in the city’s aging water system. Water, storm water and wastewater rates will go up 6% in 2018, 5% more in 2019 and another 5% in 2020.

However, Woolaway said the breaks are consistent with the cold weather.

“It can be anything from a wet curb, to water running down the curb or in some cases you do see what looks like a geyser,” said Woolaway.

He said this time of year ice without an origin can also be a sign of a water main break.

People can report a water main break by calling the Utility Department Call Center at (785) 368-3111.

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