KCMO Struggling to Keep Up with Broken Water Mains

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- In the final analysis, 2011 may go down as the "Year of the Busted Water Main" in Kansas City, and this week's cold snap is only making a tough job worse for crews scrambling across the city to fix all the leaks.

Kansas City mom Marcy Shadden says that she found out that her home near Sni-A-Bar and Eastern Street on the city's East Side was without water when she got home on Tuesday afternoon.

"I didn't realize it was that big until I came back home," said Shadden, mother of 4-year-old twin boys. "They use the bathroom a lot and food you know, I'm about to try to make dinner somehow. I don't know what I'm gonna do."

Crews were working on replacing the broken water main on Tuesday afternoon, finally getting the water back on at the Shadden home by 6:30 p.m.

Meanwhile in Westport, apartment manager John Garcia says that the city still hasn't fixed a small, but persistent, leak near 39th Terrace and Pennsylvania. He says that it's been a problem for him and his tenants for six months.

"They've had the streets torn up here and water off three different times," said Garcia.

Jim Mellen of Kansas City Water Services says that they are aware of all the water woes across the city. He says that his crews are working around the clock, seven days a week, to battle what has been a record-number of water main breaks across the city this year - over 1,500 so far in 2011. That includes 236 in October - the third-highest number for any month on record.

"The summer has been exceptional. We've had a lot of emergency main breaks and that has allowed sort of the moderate leaks to accumulate," said Mellen. "We're working as fast as we can."

The city says that they have hired private contractors to help their regular crews fix the broken water mains.

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