Severe freezing damages pipes, triggering water crisis across South

JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) — In the Deep South, days of subzero temperatures that typically last only a few hours have threatened dozens of water systems as burst pipes leak millions of gallons of water. I’m here.

The problem was on Monday in a large troubled water system like Jackson, Mississippiwhere residents had to boil water at Christmas, months after most had lost service due to a chain of problems caused by years of poor maintenance.

There was also an outbreak in Shreveport, Louisiana, where some residents were without water on Monday. Mayor of Selma, Alabama emergency Because they were afraid the city would run out of water. Workers at a food bank in Greenville, South Carolina, opened the door to save $1 million in food amid a flood of water. Police departments around Atlanta said their 911 systems were overwhelmed with unnecessary emergency calls about broken pipes.

Dozens of water systems had either implemented boiling advisories due to low pressure, or had failed to find leaks from broken pipes, warning of a greater disaster if the water was cut off.

The culprit is that the temperature dropped below freezing early in the morning on Thursday or Friday, and has only been above 32 degrees (zero degrees Celsius) for a few hours since then.

When water freezes, it expands and bursts unprotected pipes. Then, as the temperature rises, hundreds or thousands of gallons of water start leaking through the broken pipe.

And on holiday weekends when many businesses are closed, these leaks could go undetected for days, said Mike Sire, a spokesman for the water system in Charleston, South Carolina. . WCSC Television.

Charleston was on the verge of needing boiling water for hundreds of thousands of customers that could close restaurants and other businesses.

The system pumps out about 50 million gallons of water during a typical winter day. Holiday weekend production was about 100 million gallons. With over 400 customers reporting burst pipes, the system estimates that among unreported leaks, closed businesses and empty villas, there are thousands of leaking pipes spewing water. I’m here.

“It’s death by a thousand cuts,” Saia told the TV station.

Conditions in Jackson were not as dire as in August, when many of the capital’s 150,000 people were evacuated. lost running water The floods exacerbated a long-standing problem at one of the capital’s two water treatment plants. Residents had to queue to drink water, cook, bathe, and flush toilets.

But there are people who have no water pressure and the city set up an emergency water station for Christmas.

“We continue to struggle to get the pressure back into the water system. The problem must be a major leak in the system, which we have yet to identify,” a Jackson official said in a statement.

In Selma, Mayor James Perkins Jr. issued an emergency order on Christmas Day, requiring owners to go to their businesses and check for leaks before the city ran out of water. There was no update on Monday.

Broken pipes were also causing problems in individual buildings. A massive leak was reported at the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery on Christmas Eve, according to. WFSA-TV.

At the Harvest Hope Food Bank in Greenville, South Carolina, several inches of water poured out Monday morning when employees opened the building.broken pipe was spraying water The food bank said its workers drove dozens of poor people away.

The water cut off power to the food bank’s freezers and refrigerators, and workers faced the double challenge of restoring power before food spoiled and keeping the area out of water. Up to $1 million worth of food could be destroyed, according to the report.

The forecast brought good news. Monday’s highs in the deep south are expected to be at least in the 40s, and overnight sub-zero temperatures shouldn’t last too long before a significant warm-up later this week.