Water main breaks beset Park Forest
Staff reports February 14, 2014 8:08PM
Park Forest Public Works crews were busy making repairs to numerous ruptured water mains on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014. On-site workers stated they expect an increasing number of ruptured mains due to the weather conditions this winter. | Al Fritz~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 16, 2014 2:12AM
Park Forest officials are keeping their fingers crossed that they don’t “break” a record this year when it comes to ruptured water lines.
Along with all the snow, the extreme cold is causing headaches for Southland public works departments as they also contend with water main breaks.
As the ground freezes and contracts, it lends less support to the underground lines, increasing the chances of a rupture, said Tom Mick, village manager in Park Forest.
So far this year, the village has had about 20 water main breaks — four alone on Thursday, Mick said. He said Park Forest had a record 201 breaks during 2012.
Mick said it’s not just cold weather that affects water lines but also dry, hot weather that causes the same sort of soil contraction that pressures the lines and leaves them susceptible to breaks.
“We see most of the breaks during the coldest 30 days and 30 hottest days of the year,” he said.
Park Forest has been “systematically trying to repair and replace” its water lines, Mick said, but the village has 72 miles of mains and replacing a mile of water line costs about $1 million.