Tyler, Texas (KETK) — After East Texas was hit with below-freezing temperatures near the end of 2022, plumbers and city employees are still busy with repairs from the arctic freeze.
Christmas weekend, Tyler had below-freezing temperatures and the city made sure they were prepared.
“Our crews were put on stand by and we definitely made sure we had a stockpile of supplies and equipment to use if we needed to during a repair,” said LouAnn Campbell, Public Information Officer for Public Works and Utilities, City of Tyler.
Campbell said they had 70 water leaks with 27 of them being water main breaks.
“Water lines burst for various reasons, again they are four to five feet under the ground, grounds shift around, and it can put some pressure on those pipes and make them come apart,” said Campbell.
Tyler residents living in apartments saw a lot of the issues, but the city couldn’t fix their broken pipes.
“Their water is the responsibility of the property owner,” said Campbell.
With the water shut off for days it fell on private companies to help, and they were busy with other calls. East Texas Leak Locators in Whitehouse told KETK News they have serviced dozens of families since December 26th and have had to hire more workers to help.
“Since December 26, East Texas Leak Locators has serviced 60 families across the East Texas area and have had to hire another plumber to keep up with all of the calls. Some did not have their pipes properly insulated which is something you can do in the fall to prepare for the upcoming winter months. Most of our calls have been about hot water lines that have burst,” said East Texas Leak Locators.
East Texas Leak Locators said many people will let their faucets drip with cold water, but do not think about their hot water lines.
“If the pipes do freeze, make sure you keep the faucets turned on. Pipes expand when they freeze and when the water starts to melt, it must go somewhere. If it doesn’t have a faucet to come out of, pipes burst,” said East Texas Leak Locators.
Campbell said the leaks were also due to older pipes, which would cost billions of dollars to replace them all.
“If it’s not broke, we’re not going to dig it up and fix it,” said Campbell.
She added that customers are on a fixed rate and no repairs would affect their water bills.