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Kalamazoo says this weekend's water main breaks may not be the last during cold snap


Kalamazoo is dealing with a rash of water main breaks due to the extremely cold temperatures.

Jeff Chamberlin, Kalamazoo Deputy City Manager, says if the ground around a main freezes, "the earth will actually shift and when that happens we'll get cracks or breaks in water mains occasionally."

The problem could continue later this week. Forecasters say the weather will warm on Tuesday, then plummet again on Wednesday and Thursday, with lows in the single digits.

Chamberlin says there are some boil water advisories in a few neighborhoods but not for the whole city.

He says Kalamazoo is not unusual in having water main breaks during cold snaps, although the materials used for water mains laid in the 1950's appear to be less flexible than the materials used for the pipes in the 1960s. So cracks or breaks can be more common in some areas than others.

Kalamazoo is also urging residents to let a trickle of water run through their pipes during the cold snap, so their home's connection to the water main doesn't freeze.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.