Water pipe breaks add to Columbia snow problems

Water floods the intersection of Ash Street and Stadium Boulevard after a fire suppressionl line broke early Sunday morning.

Residents on the northwest side of Columbia had to deal with at least four water main breaks Sunday in addition to the dayâ??s snowfall.

The trouble began around 4 a.m., when officials say a fire suppression line on Ash Street broke. That dumped almost 4 feet of water into the street, nearly spilling onto Stadium Boulevard. As the morning wore on, water mains on Loch Lane, Briarwood Lane and Phyllis Avenue broke. The Loch break sent a geyser into the air that residents estimate at one point reached 20 feet in height. The break caused an immediate drop in water pressure in the Leawood neighborhood.

â??I went to go do some dishes after breakfast and there just wasnâ??t anything there. Just a trickle,â?? Jason Hoyt said.

Hoyt and other residents told KRCG 13 they did not lose water service entirely but were not able to do much with the flow they still had. Veronica Clare said she was unable to take a shower Sunday morning.

Columbia Water & Light spokeswoman Connie Kacprowicz said crews had trouble getting to the valves to cut off all the leaks, especially the one on Ash Street. That break caused a tremendous water loss because it involved a six-inch-diameter line connected to a 16-inch transmission line. By way of comparison, Kacprowicz said houses typically get their water through a 5/8-inch line. She said the leaks started draining the Walnut Street water tower and reduced pressure throughout much of the central city, including her house.

â??My water pressure was cut in half,â?? she said.

Kacprowicz said crews finally got the leaks under control around noon by shutting off the feed from the tower and isolating the broken lines. She said crews suspect cold weather played a role in the breaks but they do not know the exact cause.

Water problems aside, residents said Sundayâ??s snowfall forced them to change their plans for later in the week. Many churches, including Clareâ??s, canceled services for the day. In addition, Clare said she had to put a planned trip on hold. The cancellations caused an even bigger headache for Boyt. He said school and daycare closings mean he and his wife will probably have to work half-days on Monday so they can take care of their children without losing full work days.

â??It kind of throws a wrench in everything,â?? he said.

Boyt said his biggest concern on Sunday was clearing snow ahead of Mondayâ??s extremely cold temperatures.