make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

UPDATED: CFPUA repairs water main that burst due to cold weather


UPDATE (12/27): CFPUA PIO Carey Disney Ricks says crews have repaired the line and traffic is back to normal. She also left a comment below explaining why so main lines are bursting this winter.



WILMINGTON, NC (CFPUA) -- CFPUA crews are responding to a water main break on South 17th Street and Wright Street (in the 900 to 1000 block in the proximity of the railroad tracks and Cape Fear Literacy Council). This break, caused by cold weather, is not anticipated to impact service.

To facilitate repairs, traffic on 17th Street headed towards Market will be narrowed to a single (left-hand) lane. Motorists are encouraged to follow detours established in this area, or use alternate routes.

Repairs may take several hours. Updates will be provided when the normal traffic pattern is restored.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


How much are our rates going

How much are our rates going to go up now?

Until it's fixed

Considering the condition of all the infrastructure CFPUA inherited from the city and county, it's obvious you hadn't been paying enough before! Or, the politicians were diverting the money elsewhere, but I repeat myself.

You expect it for free, right?

Why should I not expect it

Why should I not expect it for free, You stated above that's how the CFPWA recieved it! By inheriting it.


There are obviously some bored CFPUA employees that are responding to these posts.

Since you might be kind of slow....

..I'll explain it real simple like.

Say you just inherited a 700 million dollar house from a benevolent benefactor. (I can guarantee you will soon be cursing that benefactor.) The roof leaks badly, it is structurally unsafe in is in violation of various codes, and it has not been maintained for several years. But, the market says it’s worth 700 million. Oh, and this house has a whole bunch of people depending on it for vital services like shelter from the cold.

Now, almost immediately, you’re told to fix it up or there is going to be a severe penalty...something called a letter of consent from the EPA. You either fix it up, or you are going to lose control of your free house, and the government will come in and take ownership of it. Remember you put nothing into it up inherited it...but now the heating bill, the insurance, and all the other costs associated with owning a 700 million dollar house are coming due along with a host of many other incidental things that you can’t afford to pay for.

What are you going to do? You can’t sell it to a private company by law...and if you could, the results would be even worse because a private owner could do anything he wanted with it without any concern for how you feel about your rising rent. Hence, the aforementioned law.

CFPUA can’t stop treating drinking water and sewer and fixing things...all of which costs serious money. (And they have the State and Federal government watching them to see they are doing the job right and in accordance with the law, or they’ll take it over.) The money and maintenance the previous owners were spending was grossly insufficient to the task...and they just bought lawn ornaments with the money you paid them.

Now I ask, did you get a free house?

If you never took microeconomics and don’t understand why most utilities operate as a monopoly, just say so.

It's entirely possible...

Maybe there are CFPUA employees responding to silly posts, but why shouldn't they? Why should CFPUA, or any organization for that matter, let themselves be defined by fools with an internet connection? Seems like a lot of "experts" like to chime in with no apparent qualifications.

Seems like the PIO was pretty forthright in her response to the question posed.

I saw them respond to a water main break right outside my door the other day in Pine Valley...they were quick, courteous, and professional.

CFPUA broken main water line

How does this keep happening to them? I find it hard to believe that it is the cold freezing temperatures that is causing this. These huge plastic lines are under ground. At my house I haven't had a single pipe freeze yet and my pipes are 3/4" copper pipes that are uninsulated under my crawlspace. One would think that my pipes would freeze a lot quicker than the massive underground main waterline that has water flowing constantly through it. This just dose not make sense at all.

That is a great question.

That is a great question. These lines are not plastic, they are primarily made of iron; especially water lines that exist throughout the older sections of the Wilmington area where we have experienced our breaks. Here's what happens. Iron contracts when it gets cold, and expands again when it gets warm. During this contraction and/or expansion, cracks can form in the pipe. These cracks seep or gush water causing a water main break that shows via sink holes or pooling / running water above ground. The lines under your house are copper because copper expands and contracts (or stretches) well in the changing temperatures; ie no cracks. There is information about this subject and other frequently asked questions on our website at

It's called old infrastructure....

First off, only a small percentage of the drinking water distribution lines are 'plastic.' These are the lines that have been placed into service in the last 25 years or so. (I assume you meant PVC.) PVC wasn't even invented when most of these lines were placed into service. (Remember they unearthed a wooden pipe recently in downtown construction?)

A lot of the lines are iron...which expands and contracts with heat and cold temperature fluctuations. This is not a CFPUA thing...this is a nationwide thing. A little research into watermain breaks causes would reveal such.