Although it may be getting warmer outside, local officials recommend residents continue to run water through their pipes 24 hours a day to keep them from freezing.
Deep frost plus below average water temperatures equals a scary situation for water utility companies across the state. Even though it may not seem as cold outside anymore, officials said it is important to keep your water running because the damage has already been done.
The city of Arcadia is one of 21 municipalities asking residents to run water through their pipes.
“Yesterday, we pumped 1.8 million gallons of water throughout the whole city,” said Gary Skroch, water superintendent for the city of Arcadia. “They should run one faucet, cold water; in a sink that they won’t shut off because it has to be run 24 hours a day.”
Skroch said an average home in Arcadia pumps about 2,000 gallons of water in a month, but every day that gauge is increasing.
“They could be running up to excess of 10,000 gallons a day,” said Skroch.
Even though weather conditions may improve, it is important to continue running water.
“Don’t shut it off when the weather gets warmer,” said Skroch. “The damage is already done down below the ground where the frost level is at a point where it is surrounding the pipes.”
Skroch said the frost levels have hit record depths and the water temperature has gotten too cold.
“Those two things together is the most dangerous thing for freezing water,” said Skroch.
Skroch said the water temperature right now is about 40 degrees, but it should be around 45 degrees. Although it doesn’t seem like a big deal, those few degrees make all the difference.
“40 degrees water, six feet under the ground can turn into 34 degrees and then when the water is not running or moving, it freezes,” said Skroch.
That is why water utilities are recommending residents take precautionary measures.
“We are asking people to run water citywide because of the severity of the situation, not only here in Arcadia, but throughout the whole state,” said Skroch.
A number of municipalities are giving residents water and sewer credits for the excess water use.
Residents are encouraged to contact their water utility to find out if they are included.
Here is a list of municipalities that are asking residents to keep their water running until further notice.
City of Elroy, City of Arcadia, City of Viroqua, Village of La Farge, Village of Viola, Village of Ettrick, City of Westby, Village of Melvina, Village of Stoddard, Village of Coon Valley, Village of Cashton, City of Black River Falls, City of Sparta, City of Blair, Village of Camp Douglas, Village of Trempealeau, City of Greenwood, Village of, West Salem, City of New Lisbon, Village of Melrose, City of Galesville and Mindoro.