Archive for Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Drought is likely culprit in pipe breaks

A water removal specialist enters the Spencer Art Museum after a water line broke Wednesday morning, damaging an undermined amount of books and other items in the basement.

A water removal specialist enters the Spencer Art Museum after a water line broke Wednesday morning, damaging an undermined amount of books and other items in the basement.

August 1, 2012


Utilities crews are busy again as dry conditions have led to several water main and water line breaks, including one that flooded a lower floor of Kansas University’s Spencer Museum of Art on Wednesday morning.

“It’s picking back up again because of the weather, soil conditions and drought that’s going on,” said Jeanette Klamm, a city utilities programs manager.

Some rain last week helped ease conditions that led to dry soil and broken pipes, but city and other local crews have had their hands full this week, with a major break Tuesday near 19th and Harper streets and the one on the KU campus on Mississippi Street behind Dyche Hall. Klamm said city crews on Wednesday repaired two other line breaks, including one on Hilltop Drive near Hillcrest School.

The Mississippi Street break, which occurred at 2 a.m., caused water to seep into two bottom floors of the Spencer Museum, said Joe Monaco, a KU spokesman, and KU closed the museum Wednesday.

Water that flooded into the street caused a bulk of the damage on the building’s bottom floor, which houses the Murphy Art and Architecture Library, Monaco said. A smaller amount of water entered the next floor up, which is home to workshops, classrooms and a photo studio, but no major equipment was damaged. The building’s third and fourth floors, which house artwork, were not damaged, he said.

“All the artwork in the building is completely intact,” he said.

Monaco said the museum would be closed again today, and KU officials would evaluate and decide whether to open Friday. The library in the museum’s basement will remain closed the rest of the week, he said.

KU facilities workers were in the area trying to make repairs, and Mississippi Street was closed near Memorial Drive most of Wednesday.

Klamm said the soil condition was one factor in causing the breaks. The other is high demand on the system. With so little rainfall more people than usual are irrigating their lawns. “When you are pushing that much water through those pipes, if there’s a weakness, it may cause that weakness to break,” she said.

During the drought, the city has advised residents to use measures such as watering lawns in the late evening or night hours and to repair dripping faucets and leaking toilets to keep extra water from running.

“Just be mindful of where you are using your water and try to be as conserving as possible,” Klamm said.


mikekt 5 years, 10 months ago

Note to author .

Next time try getting the general age of the pipe, the size of the pipes in interior diameter, the type of the pipe that broke ( pit cast, spun cast, ductile iron, reinforced concrete, etc ) .

How a pipe breaks ( did it blow out a hole in the side, did it split down one side, did it break at a joint, on one, or both sides of a joint , did it blow into two pieces length wise ? ) can tell you allot about what contributed to the failure . REALLY !

Dead pipes don't keep secrets well ! They get dug up !

It should should come as no shock to anyone, to discover that parts of Lawrence, like many midwestern towns it's age, have some evolving fresh water plumbing pipe issues, that like KCs problems with their system, ( that dates to the 1880s, ) that things are going to get worse & will have to reach a certain point of failure mode before KC, will replace 1/2 to 2/3s, of it's several thousands of miles of fresh water mains .

That will be a major public repair issue to come in KC, that is already on TV, nightly.

Lawrence is just the next up !

Just about every street in Lawrence or KC, have water mains in or near them, that are aging .

Patricia Davis 5 years, 10 months ago

Just another big reason we don't need to build the Self-Fritzel dream palace right now. We need to spend any funds we have on our aging infrastructure.

Liberty275 5 years, 10 months ago

More breaking news: Another main broke at 19th and haskell this morning.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.