Frozen pipes block water service to Eau Claire residents - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Frozen pipes block water service to Eau Claire residents


Eau Claire (WQOW) - Some homeowners in Eau Claire woke up Sunday morning and reached for the phone.

Over a dozen Eau Claire residents dialed the public works department when they woke and found water pipes that had frozen solid.  The city's director of public works says so far this year the city has repaired 183 freeze ups at homes and businesses. Despite warmer weather lately there's no stopping the frost, which is reaching deep underground.

Jeffrey Pippenger, the utilities administrator at the City of Eau Claire's Public Works, said, "We're seeing the frost down deeper than 6-feet deep into the ground, and that's becoming a problem. Our water mains are laid at seven-and-a-half to eight feet, generally. But the water services actually come up and they're a little bit shallower than that, which makes them a little more susceptible to freezing.

You should contact the city's public works department if you hear sputtering when turning on faucets, see water color change... Or experience a loss of water pressure... That could mean your pipes in danger of icing over.

Hoping to prevent frozen pipes the city takes steps each year, like flushing out dead end fire hydrants.

Pippenger said, "It's part of our preventive measure to make sure that one, the main services don't freeze up. We're going to try to be proactive to help our residences and customers. And the other is to make sure we get warm enough water to into our mains so our mains don't freeze up."

Just this weekend, the city received nearly 30 calls about frozen pipes.  Of the freeze ups that have happened this winter, a majority have been in the street. Just a small percentage has been the property owner's responsibility. The city says thawing services through a private contractor can cost as much as $300 per freeze-up.

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