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Residents with frozen pipes still ‘borrowing’ water PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 9:33 PM

BY NANCY SPENCER

Herald Editor

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DELPHOS — A handful of Delphos residents are still without city water service to their homes, some since Jan. 30. Four of the families may not see their water restored until spring.

Homes with frozen lines include: 632 E. Fifth St.; 703 E. Fifth St.; 705 E. Fifth St.; and 615 E. Fifth St., all of whom were hooked up with hoses from neighbors on Jan. 30; 527 Lima Avenue, hooked up with a hose on Feb. 13; 733 Suthoff and 727 Euclid St., hooked up with hoses on Jan. 14; and 505 Lima Avenue and 811 Clime St., hooked up with hoses on Feb. 18.

Homes at 231 N. Bredeick and 615 W. Fourth St. have had regular water service restored.

The city water lines from the main to the meter or valve have frozen.

“The frost line went deeper this year due to the extreme cold temperatures and the lines froze,” Interim Safety Service Director Sherryl George said.”The four customers on East Fifth Street with frozen lines may have to wait a while. We will have to bring in some heavy equipment and shut down the street to fix those. It will be tough to shut down one of the city’s main thoroughfares.”

The Schoskers on Suthoff Street may not be happy about their frozen pipes but said the city has been very attentive.

“We had city workers here within a few hours of us losing our water,” Carla Schosker said. “They were here and inspected everything and had the water going but it refroze. We weren’t aware you needed to let the water run. That’s the only thing that could have helped us. The city could do a better job about getting the word out on that.”

Water Superintendent Tim Williams said all the homes do have water with the degree of use varying.

“Some have enough pressure to run the household and others only have enough to take care of the essentials,” Williams said. “It’s been tough to get a schedule together to get these issues resolved because the city doesn’t have the equipment to dig up the frozen ground and the people you call to help are busy because everyone’s having issues this winter.”

The city and the outside companies providing service need to be available at the same time. Furloughs and reduction of employees through attrition have left the city lacking manpower and hours to tackle all of this winter’s woes. City crews have dealt with the residential water problems, record snowfall and an unusually high number of water main breaks in the past six to eight weeks.

According to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, garden hoses are very unsanitary because dirt, debris and insects can get into them and the hoses and fittings are made of materials that can leach harmful chemicals into the water. This includes lead and a variety of chemicals used in plastics. The plastics most hoses are made from are not approved for conveying drinking water.

If people still insist on using hoses for water they intend to consume or bathe with, they need to first boil the water. Water from hoses is OK to use for flushing toilets.

The city is providing bottled water for drinking and dental hygiene.

Other information provided by the EPA included:

When below-freezing temperatures occur over a few days, water pipes and meters that are close to cold air may freeze. Property owners are responsible for protecting both water pipes and the water meter from damage. Residents can take steps to prevent water pipes and meters from freezing in order to continue to enjoy water service as well as avoiding unnecessary and expensive repairs. Preventing pipes and meters from freezing is much easier than trying to thaw them.

Provide warmth to the water pipes:

• Eliminate cold drafts near water pipes.

• Tightly close doors and windows to the outside and eliminate drafts from crawl spaces.

• Fill cracks in walls and around windows.

• Turn off water to garden hose connections at an inside valve and drain the exposed piping before freezing temperatures set in.

• Open the door to the room where the pipes are located to allow warmth to circulate.

• Place a lighted bulb near water pipes. (Never use open flames.)

• Wrap pipes in insulation or heat tape.

• Open cabinet door below the sink to allow warm air to reach the pipes.

Make frequent use of your water supply:

Flowing water often breaks up ice below freezing. When outside temperatures remain below freezing, it’s less expensive to run your faucet regularly than for you to repair a frozen or burst pipe.

What to do if pipes freeze?

If no water comes from your faucets when you turn them on, most likely the pipes nearest a wall, door, window or along the floor are frozen:

• Start by opening a faucet near the frozen pipe to release any vapor from the melting ice and so that you’ll know when the water starts flowing again.

• Begin warming the pipes nearest the faucet and work toward the frozen section.

• Blow warm air on the pipe using a hair dryer. (Do not leave the dryer unattended or allow it to overheat.)

• Once water has begun to flow again, let a pencil-sized stream of water flow through the faucet until normal heating is restored to the area.

• Eliminate cold drafts and allow warm air to circulate around the pipes to prevent freezing again.

 

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