Water Main Breaks Are More Likely In the Cold | 101 KXL

Water Main Breaks Are More Likely In the Cold

Written by Jeremy Scott on December 12, 2013

PORTLAND — An 85-year-old water main gave out on Southwest Vista Avenue overnight Wednesday.  Water mains break an average of 200 times a year in the city and it’s more common when it’s cold.  The 8″ cast iron pipe was installed in 1927.

“Cold water can cause pipes to become more brittle.  Adding cold air temperatures at or below freezing can cause the ground above a pipe to freeze, thereby increasing external stress on a pipe,” said the Portland Water Bureau’s Lindsay Wochnick.

The bureau says temperature is just one factor though.  The age of the pipe, soil conditions, corrosion and ground movement can also cause wear and tear.


The road flooded and Vista was closed between Elm and Spring streets for twelve hours.  A crew will come back to pave the road smooth.  Ainsworth Elementary School closed because they had no water.  Customers had lower water pressure until the repairs were completed around noon.  They’re asked to flush their taps before using the water.

Map of the affected area

Posted Under: Local Headlines

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