Bomb cyclone puts dozens of Deep South water systems at risk

Days of freezing temperatures in the Deep South regions that usually freeze for only a few hours are threatening dozens of water systems as burst pipes leak millions of gallons of water.

Problems happened on Monday in major water systems, crashes like Jackson, Mississippiwhere residents were required to boil water for months after Christmas after most of the service was lost due to a series of problems caused by poor maintenance over the years.

They are also happening in Shreveport, Louisiana, where some residents were without water on Monday. In Selma, Alabama, the mayor announced state of emergency because they city worried it would run out of water. Workers at a food bank in Greenville, South Carolina, have opened their doors to fast water and are trying to save $1 million in food bills. Police departments around Atlanta said their 911 systems were overwhelmed by unnecessary emergency calls about broken pipes.

Dozens of water systems either had low-pressure boil recommendations or warned of greater disasters if leaks were not found from broken pipes and shut off the water.

The culprit was the temperature dropping below freezing on Thursday or early Friday, and only a few hours if it’s been above 32 degrees (0 degrees Celsius) since.

Water expands when it freezes, bursting unprotected pipes. Then, as the temperature rises, those damaged pipes begin to leak hundreds or thousands of gallons of water.

And during a holiday weekend, when many businesses are closed, those leaks can go undetected for days, said Charleston, South Carolina, plumbing spokesman Mike saia told WCSC-TV.

Charleston is about to boil water for hundreds of thousands of customers who may close restaurants and other businesses.

This system discharges about 50 million gallons of water in a typical winter day. During the holiday weekend, its output is about 100 million gallons. More than 400 customers have reported broken pipes, so between unreported leaks, shuttered businesses and empty motels, the system says thousands of leaky pipes are spraying. country.

“It is death by a thousand cuts,” Saia said to television Train station.

The situation in Jackson is not as severe as in August, when many of the 150,000 residents of the capital Loss of living water after flooding exacerbated long-standing problems at one of the capital’s two water treatment plants. People have to wait in line to get water for drinking, cooking, bathing and toilet flushing.

But there are those who don’t have water pressure, and the city has set up an emergency water distribution site for Christmas.

“We continue to fight to get the pressure back on the water system. We’re producing a significant amount of water and pushing it into the system, but the pressure isn’t going up — despite those efforts at the plants. Jackson officials said in a statement.

In Selma, Mayor James Perkins Jr. issued a Christmas Day emergency order asking owners to come to their business and check for leaks before the city runs out of water.

Perkins said Monday in a statement that teams in the city of 18,000 people were able to find and fix enough leaks to balance the amount of water entering and leaving the system. However, there is a major leak that has yet to be found and two more nights are forecast to be below freezing, the mayor said.

Broken pipes also caused problems in individual buildings. A major leak was reported at the Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery on Christmas Eve WFSA-TV.

At Harvest Hope Food Bank in Greenville, South Carolina, employees opened the door of the building Monday morning and several inches of water spilled out. broken pipe spraying water and workers turned away dozens of poor people, the food bank said.

Water shuts down food bank freezers and refrigerators, and workers face the dual challenge of getting power back before the food spoils and preventing water from entering the area. The food bank says up to $1 million in food could be destroyed.

The forecast provided good news. Monday’s highest temperatures across the Deep South are expected to be at least above 40 degrees Celsius, and the nighttime freezing temperatures won’t last until more warming is expected later this week.

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