Winter weather contributes to city water line breaks

By Shannon Johnson

   The region has seen a long stretch of bitter cold, followed by a two-day snow storm that left over a foot of snow on the ground. Residents have dealt with their fair share of weather-related turmoil, from vehicle issues, to  plumbing problems, and evening ranching troubles. They aren’t alone, however. The City of Baker has also been hard at work trying to keep up with the demands of the eastern Montana winter.

   On Friday night, Feb. 15,  the city had a water line burst on 2nd Street by the Longfellow School. Crews continued to work through the day on Saturday and two blocks went without water for several hours while repairs were being made.

   Luke Holestine, of the Public Works

Department in Baker explained that the pipes are over 60 years old, and ideally, they should be replaced when they are around 40 years old. “Old pipes break,” said Holestine.

   When the temperature drops, it can cause the water in the pipes to drop as well. As the water gets close to freezing it expands, which causes an increase in pressure inside of the pipe. The excess pressure and strain on the pipes can cause them to burst when the pressure becomes too much to contain. “They’ve just been getting worse each year,” Holestine explained.

   Monday, February 18, the city had another water issue. A main line burst at the corner of 3rd Street and Highway 12.

   The community appreciates the long hours the city crew puts in dealing with the problems the cold weather causes to the aging water lines.