An Eau Claire home in disguise - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

An Eau Claire home in disguise

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - So when is a house not a home? When the city of Eau Claire has a different purpose in mind, in one house, you just go with the flow.

Smack dab in the middle of a north side neighborhood sits a brown ranch home, where the American dream has no foundation. That's because.

"It's not really a residential house," said Jeff Pippenger the city's utilities administrator.

What's inside that ranch home?

"It's actually a booster station that would fill one of our reservoirs in the city," said Pippenger.

What's inside the home makes it one of the most important properties in the city.

There's No couch, no kitchen, no comfy shoes. Instead, pumps, a generator and a control panel.  The pumps provide other houses with running water through a system of pipes connecting to the water tower.

"What it does is pump water from the distribution system up to a reservoir. Which gives us not only storage, but also pressure for the system," said Pippenger.

So why make it look like a house?

"When we construct these we try to make them fit in the neighborhood and not look out of place," said Pippenger.

There's also another reason.

"The motors and pumps and piping are above ground," said Pippenger. "And in our climate on a day like today when it doesn't get above zero the pipes would freeze and render it pretty much useless."

And despite its clever disguise, the true nature of this house cannot hide behind the shutters.

"We'll get a few calls from people give us a call asking us what is this and we tell them what it does," said Pippenger.

The city did not want to reveal the address and you can tell it blends right into the neighborhood.   There's one red flag that gives the house away.  There's no mailbox.

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