Record year for water main breaks, but Midtown fares well

While many areas of Kansas City have experienced an unusually high number of water main breaks this summer, Midtown is in better shape than the rest of the city. According to Water Department spokesperson Colleen Doctorian, the unusually hot weather and drought causes shifts in water pipes that can lead to breaks. Kansas City has had a record number of breaks both last year and this year.

And you’d think that meant the pipes in Midtown would suffer the most damage, because many Midtown neighborhoods are some of the oldest in the city. But in reality, our pipes are pretty good.

“We’re seeing the most breaks in neighborhoods that were put in around World War II. At that time, all the best materials were gone, sent to Europe,” she says.  There was also a change in the way pipes were made. It turns out the older materials held up better, which means the pipes in newer neighborhoods like Waldo are seeing more problems than those in Midtown neighborhoods built at the turn of the century.

Many people have not known much about water main breaks in the past, but now new technology like Nixle  allows residents to sign up for alerts in their neighborhoods. One of the alerts they can subscribe to is notifications about breaks in water mains that may lead to low pressure or no water for a short time.

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