Water main breaks across the county in first cold snap

ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – Even before any rain, sleet, or snow, the winter weather's been packing quite a wallop for St. Louis.

There were 13 active water main breaks just in St. Louis County early Friday evening. That is popping up on streets as water mains pop below them.

“Unfortunately, every winter when we get that first really strong cold snap, we start seeing water main breaks all over town,” said Brian Russell, Missouri American Water. “The water coming out of our plant right now is 35 degrees. So it’s just a fraction above freezing. What it does it constricts these pipes and causes the weak points to break.”

A break in Creve Coeur came at a bad time for resident Mary Corley, as her simple response to her husband’s text about it will attest.

“I used the ‘poop’ emoji and I texted him back. That’s an appropriate reaction,” she said. “It could be a big deal if I lost water tonight. We were going to have a little festivity; ‘tis the season. We were going to have friends over. We want to offer them a toilet, and a sink, and some food.”

Missouri American has about 340,000 in St. Louis, St. Charles, and Jefferson counties. Workers will be at it around the clock as long as there are broken mains to fix.

They isolated the Creve Coeur break to a couple of dozen homes or fewer.

The Corleys had water again even before the repair was complete.

“This is what they do. We really owe them as St. Louis a debt of gratitude. It’s because of them that we can take hot showers,” Russell said of the workers.

“The water’s back on. The party must go on,” Corley said.

Missouri American also had salt trucks hitting the streets impacted by main breaks.

Workers expected to have all 13 breaks in the county fixed by morning.

The City of St. Louis’ last active break was a big one on Hampton near Robert, but it had been fixed by Friday afternoon.