Water main breaks a growing Syracuse problem

A pipe broke Thursday morning at the corner of Crouse Avenue and Burnet Avenue in Syracuse.

Water main breaks are becoming a growing problem in Syracuse, leaving people in several parts of the city without water.

The Syracuse Department of Water says nothing can be done to prevent the breaks. Both the department and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner believe the age of the pipes is a culprit in the recent problems.

"We have not been able to afford the kind of necessary improvements on that water main structure that we need to do," said Mayor Miner. "Now, we have been putting millions and millions of dollars in order to improve it, but it hasn't been enough."

Water Department Assistant Superintendent Mike Cunningham said the dry, hot weather is contributing to the breaks by putting a strain on pipes. He said pipe bursts are unusual for the summer, but are more common in the winter.

Regardless of the cause, the problem puts added strain on the mayor. "It's what gives mayors and, frankly, governors nightmares. [It] is the things you can't see but we know are vitally important to the quality of life of New Yorkers."

Mayor Miner says Tuesday marked the first night in three weeks where crews did not have to work overnight to fix pipes. On some nights, as many as five pipes burst. The mayor says construction projects around Syracuse are also putting a strain on the pipes.