Freezing temperatures cause frozen pipes, water main breaks across central Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Water main breaks and plumbing issues will continue to be a concern until temperatures rise above freezing.

Plumbing companies have seen an increase in calls, related to freezing pipes, in just the last 24 hours.

While Central Arkansas Water responded to the water main rupture on 100 W. 4th St. in Little Rock on Tuesday, Feb. 16., they were simultaneously responding to seven other breaks.

Doug Shackelford, Public Affairs Director for Central Arkansas Water, said they want Arkansans to know the water is still flowing.

“We don’t want folks without water, so we are doing everything we can to get it done as fast as we can,”‘ he said.

Despite prepping ahead of time and calling in extra crews, pipes in the Central Arkansas Water system are freezing, but Shackelford said, this was expected.

“Anytime we see a weather event, a change in temperature that’s pretty drastic, that raises the potential for pipe breaks,” he said.

It’s what they call a “spontaneous break” and, according to Shackelford, it’s happening mostly in smaller and older pipes.

“No major like 42-inch line break or anything like that, it’s a 12 inch or smaller,” he said.

Central Arkansas Water has over 2,500 miles of pipe and spreads across seven counties, so while eight breaks at the same time isn’t ideal, Shackelford said they aren’t worried.

“In a perfect world there would be no breaks, but that’s pretty good. The system is maintaining itself pretty well,” he said.

For local plumbing companies, like Sanders Services, Cody Jones said the frozen pipe calls keep coming in.

“We’ve gotten 42 plus, as of yesterday, and they are rolling in right now, as we speak,” he said.

The most difficult part for plumbers, like Jones, is trying to thaw out people’s lines.

“It’s just one of those things where we have to bear with it and pray for the best,” he said.

Jones said the time of the fix depends on the situation, but either way, it won’t happen quickly.

“It’s just a process. A slow, slow going process to get the water back on to the homes,” he said.

We know everyone has heard it multiple times, but experts said, still the best thing to do is keep your faucets dripping. That includes in your kitchen, bathroom, and in the shower. It also helps to open up the cabinet doors below the faucets.

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