Water main breaks create problems in several metro Denver communities

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DENVER -- Water main breaks caused problems in several communities in the Denver area Thursday.

John Crabtree, who lives near University Boulevard and East Hampden Avenue, first knew something wasn't right when his trash cans began to float away like rafts on a river.

"We don't know where they are. They might be down on University [Boulevard] or somewhere," Crabtree said.

The water main break near Crabtree's home occurred Thursday morning. A large sinkhole formed shortly after the break.

Denver Water suspects aging pipes are too blame.

Water main breaks are common. The city typically sees an average of around 300 annually.

Crews are still busy cleaning up the damage and fixing the road, but water has been restored to the neighborhood near University and Hampden.

However, water is now leaking into Crabtree's basement.

"It also went in the garage. It went in the pool," he said.

Eighteen miles north, Westminster residents were dealing with similar problems. A water main break at the Cobblestone Village condos on Wednesday also developed into a sinkhole.

"I was thinking about how I just paid off my house and I was worried because I didn't know what the damage was going to be," said Arlene Garcia.

The water just narrowly missed Garcia's home, but it was too close for comfort.

"There was so much water that I literally had to take my shoes off and walk through it to take care of the neighborhood," said Garcia's neighbor, Morgan Trujillo.

The city of Westminster Department of Public Works and Utilities says its common for water systems to experience an increase in main breaks during temperature swings.

The ground can shift slightly when the temperature changes, putting pressure on the pipes and causing them to break.

It's unclear if that is what caused the problems in Westminster on Wednesday, but the area did experience a temperature drop of more than 30 degrees in a matter of a couple of hours.

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