Greensboro crews work to fix water main breaks caused by cold weather

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- It's so cold in the city of Greensboro that water mains are bursting.

The city's water resources department says eight water mains broke within 24 hours from Sunday to Monday morning.

FOX8 saw crews working on Summit Avenue, Friendly Avenue, North Church Street and Berryman Street.

The repairs caused some road and lane closures and inconvenienced people who had their water shut off.

"It slows you down when you have to go to work, brush your teeth, wash your face, all the necessities that you need," said Stephen Hayes, who experienced two water main breaks near his home on Berryman Street. "I don't want to go through this again."

Patrick Smith is the operations superintendent for the city of Greensboro's water resources department. He says the breaks can't be prevented.

"Our engineering division has water models that they can kind of look at and see areas of concern, but there is not way to pinpoint if or where a water main break will happen," Smith said.

Smith says his team is prepared to respond when the breaks happen. Extra crews are on call and $400,000 is budgeted for their overtime work annually.

"Usually when we get cold weather like this, we expect to experience several breaks." Smith said.

Twenty breaks have already been reported since around Christmas. Smith expects even more breaks when the temperatures start to rise again.

Water resources has a budget of about $10 million each year for water and sewer rehab, but only about 1 percent of the system is fixed each year.