'It just keeps breaking': Temporary water main fixes will have to hold until springtime

FARGO — Fargo Public Works has a new battle in its hands lately with water main breaks.

"It's just recently picked up a lot with the cold temperatures, you're driving the frost into the ground. It's getting pretty busy now," said Darrell Sweep with Fargo Public Works.

He is on-call this week, working 24 hours over the past weekend fixing broken water mains. He's had extended hours the past two days.

Fargo Public works said it has dealt with around a dozen water main breaks this season so far. That's about the average number, but there are a couple neighborhoods that are more prone to problems.

"There are certain areas in town where just the certain age of the pipes different, older cast iron that's really just coming to the end of its life," said Matt Andvik, a services manager for Fargo Public Works.

One of those is Seventh Avenue and Oak Street in north Fargo.

Crews were still there Wednesday, Feb. 13, dealing with the cleanup after a water main break the previous weekend.

It's the third break there this winter alone on top of three other breaks there in the fall. Crews said these problem areas are inevitable and a quick fix is all they can do for now.

"It just keeps breaking, so it keeps getting extended and adding new pipe as we're going there. It's a tough stretch for us there," said Sweep.

Another problem area is just to the north off of 23rd Avenue. Some residents in that area woke up to a water main break Wednesday around 6 a.m.

A neighbor WDAY spoke to didn't want to go on camera, but said he's seen three breaks on this block since he moved in, and now he was left cleaning up yet again. He said he wants something to be done about the entire street, but knows a permanent fix won't come this winter.

As for Andvik and the rest of the street crews, they said it was just a normal day and that this will continue to happen until spring comes and they can work with engineering to figure out long-term solutions.