CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — There has been an increase in water line breaks in Corpus Christi recently due to the dry conditions.
Michael Murphy, the C.O.O. of the Corpus Christi Water Utilities department said usually there are about three water line breaks per day, but due to the drought, that number has increased to about 30. “You get the movement of the earth due to the drought. The earth sort of shifts, you know, and for an inflexible pipe, that’s not a good relationship,” Murphy said.
Why is the soil moving? It has to do with expansive soils which are soils which contain minerals such as smectite clays that are capable of absorbing water.
Expansive soils swell when exposed to large amounts of water and shrink when the water evaporates. This continuous cycle of wet to dry soil keeps the soil in perpetual motion causing structures built on this soil to sink or rise unevenly.
The change in soil volume can exert enough force on a building or other structure to cause damage.