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Water mains break around the valley

A series of water main breaks around the valley Wednesday and Thursday created a big mess for some residents.

The latest string of breaks continued Thursday morning when a pipe cracked at 3:30 a.m. near 300 East and 7200 South.

The first break Wednesday morning at 7:50 a.m. left eight Rose Park homes without water for almost four hours after a hole in the top of a pipe sent water spewing several feet into the air.

Two water lines in Murray broke almost simultaneously later that morning.

The late winter and early spring are common times for pipes to break because earth shifts as the ground thaws, according to Mark Stanley, maintenance and operations superintendent for Salt Lake City public utilities.

But despite the latest rash of water main breaks, Stanley said the mild winter temperatures have made for an easier thawing period than in previous years.

"We just haven't experienced that onslaught of breaks that we normally would," Stanley said. "It's been less of an effect this spring."

And so far the breaks have caused relatively minor damage.

Water from the main break in Sandy caused some damage to the road, city spokesman Chris Hill said. The break was fixed and water restored to the area just after 9:30 a.m.

The leak in Rose Park damaged a home in the area, but utility crews had the break fixed within four hours.

The hole in the pipe, at 1136 N. 1400 West, likely was caused by corrosion or a weak spot in the old pipe.

An 8-inch line near 5300 South and 900 East developed a 6-foot split in the pipe while a 6-inch line near 5200 South and 1045 East developed a shear. Water service was restored to residents in the area by 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The water had nowhere to go, however, because debris clogged the storm drains of a nearby neighborhood. About 2 feet of water flooded the yards of several homes, but none suffered water damage, said Jim Carbine, department manager for the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District.

The pipes that burst in Murray are 35 to 40 years old, he said.