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Heat blamed for burst water mains across the city

ST. LOUIS – Water pipes are bursting around parts of St. Louis and the heat could be to blame.

Many St. Louis City residents and businesses experienced a drop in water pressure Friday because of at least 17 main breaks throughout the city, but a number of them in south St. Louis.

The south side YMCA had to stop operations for the afternoon because of a drop in water pressure.

The breaks happened within the last 24 hours as July temperatures caused the ground to heat up and move, which caused the iron water pipes to expand and break. Most of the broken mains were six to 12 inches in diameter, but a large transmission pipe—36 inches in diameter—broke and caused low water pressure in many areas.

City water crews got the problem taken care of by the afternoon.

City Public Utilities Director Curt Skouby said the age of the iron pipes may have contributed to the water main failures. Some of the pipes are nearly a century old.

Skouby said crews are repairing the pipes, but not replacing them. He said it may take a voter-approved bond issue down the road to raise money to replace the water mains.