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City responds to pipe breaks over weekend, offers tips to protect home in cold weather

The city of Renton's public works department responded to three water leaks over the weekend, including a water line break Sunday on Pelly Avenue North in North Renton.

According to Public Works Administrator Gregg Zimmerman, sudden plunges and increases in temperature can result in more water leaks in the system as temperature changes cause freezing and thawing and movement of ground, all of which contribute to leaks and breakages of water mains.

"It's not that unusual," he said Tuesday.

On Sunday, the on-call maintenance worker got a report of a water leak on Pelly Avenue in North Renton and arrived to find a small amount of water coming up to the surface at the edge of the street.

The frozen ground, however, made it difficult to find the leak because instead of coming straight up through the ground, the water traveled sideways under the frozen surface and away from the leak.

The water crew used a vactor truck to dig down and find the leak, but because of the frozen ground, it took six exploratory holes to locate the leak itself.

Because of the time of day, the crew returned Monday to repair the leak and restore the area.

With freezing temperatures expected tonight and throughout the winter, Zimmerman offered the following tip to protect one's home from a pipe break:

• Make sure you disconnect all garden hoses from outside spigots and hose bibs.

• Water pipes entering unheated garages can freeze and break.  Placing heating tape and insulation on these pipes or keeping a trickle of water running through the pipe can help avoid freezing and breakage.

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