Lawrence city utility crews have spent part of the holiday season repairing water main breaks, but officials say the number of leaks is no more than usual for this time of year.
"As things get colder and the water gets colder, you see things break a little more often," said Mike Lawless, assistant director of operations for the city's utilities department. He said the extended drought has also contributed to problems because the dry soil pulls away from the pipes, giving them more room to vibrate and break.
A pipe break in the 600 block of Walnut in north Lawrence early Wednesday affected service for 11 customers in that area. Lawless said crews expected to have that leak fixed by late afternoon. It was the fourth water main break in the city since Christmas Eve, Lawless said.
On Christmas Day, a water main break on W. 21st Street between Mitchell Street and Naismith Drive brought out crews who had to close that part of the street to make repairs. Lawless said the repairs were completed around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Two other water main breaks were reported on Monday, he said.
The city of Topeka was reporting a rash of water main breaks on Wednesday, with five teams of repair crews as well as contract crews working at various locations to fix leaks. The city was reporting on its Twitter page that the frozen ground was causing pipes to shift and break.
Topeka spokeswoman Suzie Gilbert said there had been 40 water main breaks in that city since Sunday, including 13 that had occurred by mid-afternoon Wednesday.