Keep those taps running

Freezing pipe problem has not gone away as warmer temps drive frost further into ground

  • Feb. 17, 2017 5:00 p.m.
If you have had previous problems with frozen water lines

If you have had previous problems with frozen water lines

Temperatures have warmed up this week and with that, many people may be assuming that potential problems with frozen pipes are over.

Not so, says City CAO Scott Sommerville. In fact, if you have had any issues with freezing taps in the past, you should be constantly running a tap somewhere in your house.

“The appearance of warm weather makes us think that we can stop running our taps.  The opposite is true,” Sommerville said. “Frost continue to move further downward into the soil as the weather warms up. Please keep your taps running if you are prone to freezing.  We are spilling water over the top of the dam this time of year, so water conservation is not an issue at this time.”

The City has responded to 65 instances of water lines freezing this winter, and ten occurrences of sewer lines freezing.

“We have had a perfect storm of weather events that contributes to pipes freezing,” Sommerville said. “First, we had a wet fall and the ground became saturated with water. Then, we suffered a long cold snap without a snow cover to insulate the ground. When it did snow, we shovel our driveways and remove the snow insulation. If your pipes run below your driveway, this can increase the chances of freezing as well.”

The City encourages residents who have experienced frozen water service lines in the past to be pro-active by ensuring indoor lines are properly insulated, keeping a good snow cover over the ground above the service lines and installing a bleeder line system.  The City still has approximately 45 of these bleeder valves available at no cost to residents. Drop by the Operations Desk at City Hall to pick one up while supplies last.

As for flooding concerns after the massive snow fall last week, Sommerville says the temperature is freezing at night, and close enough to freezing for part of the day that the snow is melting slowly.

“This is preferable to having it melt all at once in the spring, which would cause flooding concerns.”