Monday, April 22nd, 2024 Church Directory
PUBLIC WORKS EMPLOYEES came to the rescue of Chad’s Auto Repair earlier this week, unthawing some pipes that had frozen during the overnight hours. The machine, called a Magikist De-icer, utilizes a flexible tube that feeds a special spray head down the water line to the frozen section. Pictured above: (left to right), Chad Schwintek, Mike Barringer (Public Works), Lonny Seeley and Jeremy Halvorson (Public Works).

Frozen Pipes Keeping Becker Public Works Mighty Busy

Becker Public Works Director Dave Pesola is advising residents to keep a steady flow of water running to help inhibit the rising incidences of freezing pipes in area communities.

The perpetual cold this winter has pushed the frost line to depths of over five feet - some as deep as seven to eight feet, reported Pesola. The warmer weather this week has actually hindered the frost line and pushed it even deeper.
 
The frozen pipes has been causing Pesola’s utility workers to make several rounds throughout the city to try and reverse the problem.
 
“People need to consider running a small stream of water in a sink or laundry tub for much of the day, especially if one is at work or away for the weekend,” Pesola said. “Make sure the drain is clear and continue to do this until further notice.”
 
Pesola said the problem will not go away anytime soon, so people need to be diligent in protecting their water lines for the next several weeks.
 
“We won’t see the problem clear up until we get spring rains,” Pesola warned.
 
Pesola’s crews have been visiting nearly a dozen homes over the last few weeks using a thawing machine they recently purchased just for the exact problem that is occurring. The thawing machine can only work up to 60 feet, so those whose pipes are beyond that threshold could be suspect.
 
Pesola says the danger lies in the city areas mostly where sidewalks and roads get plowed down to the surface, leaving the pipes underground relatively exposed to a hard freeze.
 
“Rural folks are probably fine because of the snow cover, although I wouldn’t say it can’t happen,” said Pesola.
 
Pesola says businesses are susceptible too because usually the building is unoccupied and water isn’t flowing over the weekends, which causes the freezing pipes. People leaving on vacations are also told to leave a little stream of water (about the size of a pencil) running from a household sink to help combat the issue. Pesola noted residents should keep the stream on at all times until the utility notifies residents to stop because the laterals can freeze again in a matter of an hour if water is shut off.
 
“It’s less costly for us to pump and treat the water than it would be to have the piping excavated should a freeze occur,” said Pesola.
 
With very few contractors out there equipped to thaw the service lines, it’s been a real boon to the city to have the equipment on hand to handle most of the problems.
 
Other preventative measures homeowners and business owners can take are: • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in or near the walls of the garage;
 
• Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children;
 
• When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing;
 
• Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst;
 
• If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
 
Residents who experience a line freeze are encouraged to call  the water supply department at 763-200-4258.
 
Pesola says his department will be doing their best to accommodate the issues as quickly as possible while the crews especially focus on the main water supply lines.
 
“We don’t want them to freeze up because that would mean we’d lose blocks of service,” he said.