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Water mains break across frigid St. Louis

By Bill Raack, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The recent cold snap is causing a lot of problems for water pipes in the St. Louis area. Missouri-American Water Company says there have been more than 340 water main breaks in the last two weeks.

Spokeswoman Ann Dettmer says the breaks are due to the dropping temperature of the Missouri and Meramec Rivers, which are the primary sources of the area's water supply, "We monitor that temperature closely when it drops down below about 36 degrees. We tend to see these surge in main breaks as the cold water hits the metal pipes."

Dettmer says very few customers have lost water service from the main breaks, however, because crews have been able to work around the clock to bypass the problem spots.

Dettmer says the utility is spending $30 million this year to replace aging water mains, some of which are 80 years old.