Water main breaks continue to plague Wauwatosa

CREATED Feb 10, 2014

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WAUWATOSA -- Water main breaks are like a broken record in Wauwatosa. 

So much so, that maintenance crews say they're starting to take a toll on their personal lives.
 
City worker Dan Parker is finishing up a 24 hour-shift.
 
"A lot of people don't realize what we actually go through. We're out here in the cold. I've got three pairs of socks on, two pairs of long johns," Parker said. "I've got young kids. I've got a family at home that misses me. It's something I don't want to do but something that needs to be done."
 
There have been nearly 60 water main breaks so far this winter in Wauwatosa. That's more than double the number than the city had at this time last year.
 
"I may look great on the outside, but believe me, I'm tired," said Parker.
 
Parker spent the morning working on a pipe that has burst five times since yesterday, at 81st and Hillcrest. The pipes burst or crack, because the ground 6-7 feet below the ground is frozen.
 
"Everytime we would fix it, repair it, or turn the water back on it would break. This weather is something we weren't prepared for. I don't think anyone prepared for it. We haven't had weather like this in years."
 
Residents say they really appreciate the maintenance workers' efforts. Parker says he was touched when people in the neighborhood brought him hot chocolate.
 
"I'm so glad I don't have to be working in this, said neighbor Chapman Wakefield.
Wakefield had to adjust his life a little when they shut the water off for yet another repair.
 
"We all went to my in-laws and spent the night there. We're potty-training a three year-old. Flushing a toilet is the funnest part of poddy-training. Not being able to flush the toilet was pretty tough, so we left."