Are water main breaks more common in Kalamazoo?

A crew works to repair a water main break in Kalamazoo on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Frigid winter temperatures have returned to West Michigan this week, bringing with it more water main breaks.

“Yeah, it’s pretty routine for us,” said Kalamazoo Public Services Director James Baker.

It’s been a busy season for city workers. Baker says Kalamazoo had 42 water main breaks in January alone. Each one came with its own boil water advisory.

“A lot of that has to do with the stresses that the pipe endures during cold weather, when the frost is either advancing or retreating,” says Baker. “There’s movement in the ground.”

Like road construction in the summer, it’s just part of the season.

“The majority of those main breaks do occur from November until about March,” he explained.

Baker says while the city averages between 70 and 80 water main breaks a year, he doesn’t think Kalamazoo has more water main breaks than comparable cities.

“It comes with the size of the system, the age of the system, and for communities our size I’d say we’re about average of main breaks,” Baker explains.