Freeze is on in Kimberley

The pipes, the pipes are freezing, and the best advice is to keep a small flow of water running.

With temperatures dropping, and the snow not very thick on the ground, the City of Kimberley is reporting an increase in the number of water lines freezing. As temperatures rise again, the frost will be forced even further into the ground, increasing the problem.

The City advises that if your home has experienced frozen water service lines in the past or if you notice a reduced water flow in your home, leave one tap running cold water day and night (stream should be the size of a pencil). This will help to prevent your lines from freezing. Please ensure that someone is checking this tap on a daily basis to ensure that the water is draining properly.

Please note that you will need to keep the water running 24/7 until mid-April to avoid having the line freeze.

For the most part, that is the only help the City can offer residents says City Manager of Operations Mike Fox.

“The City has in the past thawed pipes by using electricity, however in this process there can be stray currents,” Fox said. “Stray currents can damage house or other infrastructure and because of this, the City’s insurance provider has recommended stopping this practice. The operations department is currently trying to find out if they are any private business that are thawing lines and tell public members to contact a plumber if there line is frozen.

“The City does have a steaming unit for thawing lines but it is only effective if the steam line can fit into the water line. With most side lines in Kimberley being made of galvanized iron pipe, it deems the steamer useless because of tuberculation (buildup of material inside the pipe). The City’s steaming unit does take a lot longer to thaw — it was found not effective in several cases last year.”

In fact, Fox says bleeding water lines to prevent freezing is about the only solution.

“The City has been in contact with CBT and Northern communities to see how other communities are dealing with water line freezing issues. Most communities are bleeding water (a continuous flow of water to drain). The amount of water bleeding to prevent freezing is minimal but does have to be constant. The City has acquired a bleeder from one northern community and has replicated it. This bleeder is not CSA approved and if the home owner decide to use one the City will supply it but the home owner takes all responsibility. A lot of residents are still setting a toilet to run all the time and this works also. CBT recommends an automatic bleeder valve but this is more expensive.”

For the most information on winter bleeders and why they are necessary please visit the city web site at http://kimberley.ca/news/increased-possibility-frozen-water-service-lines. The City also has paper copies of this information at the operations desk.