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Summer brings increase in water main breaks

PHOENIX — Arizona’s excess heat means Valley residents use more water during the summer months, upping the potential for a water main failure, an official said.

“We do see more breaks Valley-wide during the summertime, mostly just because of increased water use,” said Scottsdale Water Resource Director Brian Biesemeyer. “As the system is using more water, if there is some deficiency in the pipe material, that more than likely is when we would see it.”

In the last week, the Valley has seen two water main breaks, one in Phoenix at Seventh Avenue and McDowell Road and another in Scottsdale near Scottsdale and Chaparral roads.

Biesemeyer said the break in Scottsdale was not part of Scottsdale’s Water Resource Department, but on a line that is operated by Epcor, a private water service. With more than 2,000 miles of water mains in Scottsdale, Biesemeyer said the city sees about a dozen breaks a year, with the most common cause due to improper foundation below the pipes.

“Sometimes the rocks underneath can have an effect that causes premature wear on the lines,” Biesemeyer said.

Pressure fluctuations are also common reasons why pipes burst Biesemeyer said.

Biesemeyer said it’s important for residents to pay attention to water usage during the summer to help reduce the stress on water mains. He said conserving water not only conserves dollars, but it can also help reduce water main breaks.