Along Manorcrest Lane, they are digging up tons of dirt putting in a new PVC water main.

Bob Robinette has been with Missouri American Water for more than 28 years. He said the ground will freeze down to about three feet in the winter. Crews bury their lines just below that.

In the winter, ice cold water flowing through brittle pipes often leads to the breaks. Now, with warmer weather, it’s slight movements in the ground that can lead to a break.

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“You might get a rock resting up against the pipe and the freezing and thawing going to just gently move rock across surface of the pipe and wear a hole in it,” said Brian Russell with Missouri American Water.

Russell said small holes quickly turn into big holes. Cast iron pipes that run under the streets in many older neighborhoods are being replaced with PVC pipe. This is cost effective and easier to work with, and both have a life expectancy up to 100 years.

“To be perfectly honest, PVC we haven't been using for 50 to 100 years so that's the expectation but don't have that history going back,” said Russell. “We expected it to go that long but we've not used it for that long to know for 100 percent certain.”

Despite working around construction equipment Robinette said the most difficult part of the job is actually traffic.

“The one thing we can't control is the local traffic,” said Robinette. “Hope everyone respects us working here and they slow down.”

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