Deep freeze causing communities to ask residents to run water - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Deep freeze causing communities to ask residents to run water


The Village of Gilman is the latest community to ask its residents to run their faucets to keep pipes from freezing in their homes.

The water stream should be as thin as possible to keep a constant flow of water and should be about the diameter of a pencil lead.

Scroll to the bottom of this story to see the full list of communities asking residents to keep their water running.


Eau Claire (WQOW) - The temperature isn't the only thing dropping this winter.  So is the frost level which has raised concerns for many communities.

When workers came in to work at Dragenetti's they noticed they were missing one key ingredient to all of their recipes, water. The pipe connecting the restaurant to the city of Altoona's water supply was frozen solid.

"Water is everything," said Pizza Chef Ben Orlikowski. "Just simply washing hands is the most important part of our job."

Crews were outside getting their hands dirty thawing a pipe at Dragenetti's Monday afternoon.

"With this winter being as cold as it was, I'm kind of surprised it didn't happen earlier," said Orlikowski. "This hasn't happened ever since Dragenetti's has been here."

So far this winter, Altoona has seen 31 reports of frozen pipes, most of which are under city roads.

"Since the roads are plowed, you don't have that natural insulation of the snow blanket," said Director of Public Works David Walter. "So that helps drive the frost down even deeper."

And it's a scene like this that has many communities across the area advising residents to run a trickle of water to prevent any freezing.

Altoona's message comes with a caveat: if you choose to run water, the city will not credit you unless you've been had problems with frozen pipes in the past.

"Rather than have a prescriptive have everyone run their water for a month or so here we're trying to target it and put some of the responsibility and decision-making on the home owner," said Walter.

There's also another reason. The city of Altoona would be paying the city of Eau Claire to treat that running water.

"For a month of operation we'd be paying a fee of about a half million dollars to the city of Eau Claire," said Walter.

There are many other communities that are offering credits to the customer's bill if they run a pencil-size stream.

A number of public works directors today who said people may have to do that until the ground thaws which could be the end of March.

Dragenetti's did stay open today despite the lack of running water for a few hours.  They used bottled water to get by.


Communities asking to run water







Fall Creek




New Auburn

Rice Lake



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