Why are water mains breaking throughout Cincinnati? Blame the chilly river.


As of Wednesday, the Greater Cincinnati Water Works has reported four major water breaks and about eight leaks. What’s happening?

Agency officials said cold air and soil temperatures contribute to the water’s main problems, but the biggest factor is the temperature of the Ohio River, the city’s main source of water. The cold water can contract the pipes and make them more brittle, officials said.

The temperature of the river in Cincinnati was 41.2 degrees on February 12th, The recent reading by the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (Orsanco). On Thursday a US Geological Survey Sensor in the Licking River in Alexandria (about 13 miles south of where the Licking meets the Ohio) Read at 33.6 degrees.

Main water fractures also cause pressure fluctuations in the systems, which can have a cascading effect that leads to more other fractures occurring.

A major hiatus took place on Thursday near the Western Hill Viaduct in South Fairmount, with water spraying several feet into the air and onto nearby roads.

Two more breaks have been reported on Foley Road in Delhi Township and Weron Lane in East Westwood. These have since been downgraded to leaks.

On Wednesday there was a break on Delta Avenue in Mount Lookout. There is also an ongoing repair for a disruption on Riverside Drive in the East End, first reported in January.

In total, there were 44 active leaks and breaks in the waterworks system on Thursday. The crews are working to address them all, officials said.

Breakages and leaks can be reported to the Greater Cincinnati Water Works website, mygcww.com and a The map shows all the locations of the problems with the planned repair date.

The website also provides tips on preventing frozen pipes and other residents from information.