Several cities ask homeowners to leave faucet on - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Several cities ask homeowners to leave faucet on

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MARATHON COUNTY (WAOW) - It's been so cold for so long, pipes are freezing across Central Wisconsin. Mosinee joined a growing list of cities Wednesday asking homeowners to begin running a stream of water from a faucet to keep water lines from freezing.

“The frost is as deep as the water lines in most areas,” Public Works Director Kevin Breit said in a statement.
“The frost is still around the pipes in the ground. If customers do turn off the water off and water line freezes, customers will be charged for thawing the water line."

Rhinelander, a city of about 9,000 people, handed down the same directive on Tuesday. In Antigo, about 400 homeowners, or 10 percent of the city, are keeping a faucet open because of freezing water lines, said Mark Desotell, the city's director of administrative services.

“I would call it a concern right now. I wouldn't say Antigo is in crisis,” he said.

The Village of Weston held a news conference Wednesday afternoon about freezing pipes in their area.

"We're experiencing service interruptions to water utility customers throughout the Weston water utility," said Dan Guild, the Weston Village Administrator.

The Village of Wittenberg is also asking residents to run water, affecting about 500 customers, Clerk Traci Matsche said. The village had to help thaw out about dozen water lines on Wednesday, she said.

 The Village of Weston reports about 100 people affected by pipes freezing. With six feet of frost underneath sidewalks, the frost is just about a foot away from the pipes.

"We've seen some unique circumstances not just in Weston, but I think in communities throughout the state," said Guild.

Some people received letters and door hangers from the village warning them their neighborhoods are especially vulnerable. They advise running water the diameter of a pencil to help those pipes.

"We're just trying to be proactive and get out there and let people know what they can do to address these situations when they happen," said Guild.

But a Mosinee property manager says not so fast. He manages mobile home units and says running water at mobile homes can cause a different situation.

"In a mobile home, the sewer lines are above ground," said Ken McCullum, the Cottonelle Communities regional manager.

He says lines like these make it easier to freeze.

"If people leave their water dripping, it's going to build up ice in that sewer line and then they'll have a problem there," said McCullum.

So how do you know if your pipes are about to freeze? Public works crews say discolored water and low pressure are signs. But leaders across our area are hoping people take steps to prevent the problem.

If you're having trouble with freezing pipes, a number of cities and towns say to contact their public works department for help.

Residents of Weston can call a 24-hour service operator for help at (715) 359-2876. This number is for Weston residents only.

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