The long period of excessive heat created problems for the city’s aging underground sewer lines.
The dryness of the land over the summer has caused the ground to shift, according to officials.
Seven water line breaks were reported to the city’s water and sewer department in the past three weeks, evidence of the havoc drought and extreme heat are having on water pipes.
Residents did not suffer loss of water pressure while the repairs were being made, according to Robert Brueggemann, water department supervisor.
“We were able to keep the pressure at 20 inches while working on the small breaks.” Brueggemann said. “But the one on Sixth Street where a weld between a 14-inch main and an 8-inch line was, we had to install three pumps to keep the pressure up.”
Although the city has ample supplies of water, soil is drying up because of the extreme heat, he said. As the dry ground shifts pipes snap.
Pacific is lucky to have plenty of water supply, Brueggemann said, with three wells — 750, 650 and 1,000 feet deep.
The wells got a workout during the extreme heat. In June, the city pumped 10 percent more water than in the same month last year. In July, the increase was 13 percent more.
“That’s an increase of 3 to 4 million gallons,” Brueggemann said. “That’s a lot of water.”
The city water department found itself repairing broken water mains on July 12, 19, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30.
“They’re all pretty much due to the drought,” Brueggemann said.
A 6-inch main broke at 1710 Hawthorne on July 12. A 6-inch break at 92 Cedar Ridge July 19 and a 6-inch pipe at 50 Cedar Ridge followed that break July 26. On Aug. 28, a weld broke on a 14- by 8-inch main on Sixth Street.
“That was a big one,” Brueggemann said. “We had 3-inch, 4-inch and 2-inch pumps running all the time to keep up enough pressure. And for the most part it worked. Somebody on the third floor of an apartment building might have felt a little loss of pressure but most people were OK.”
That repair took the five-man crew approximately four hours to repair.
On July 29 and 30, two more 6-inch mains broke at 905 W. Union and 55 Cedar Field.
Brueggemann said neighbors had not lost water pressure due to those breaks.
“We were able to keep 20-inch pressure with water spraying out all the time, so nothing could get into the line.
Although other work shifted around, nothing crucial was left undone, Brueggemann said.
The department racked up more than 100 hours of overtime as crews worked to quickly seal the breaks.