Mayor Rick Schultz
Boy, has this been a long and trying winter! I blame the groundhog.
While this winter is not the worst on record, it has had its moments. One of the recurring moments is frozen water pipes. It seems like a day doesn’t go by without city staff having to deal with this cold-weather issue.
During the past weeks you may have read or heard stories on freezing water lines. There have been several drinking-water service lines freezing in the area cities, including St. Joseph. The best way to prevent the service line from freezing is to keep the water moving or running. A pencil width is effective to prevent freezing. The water line that runs from the city’s main to the inside of the home is the home owner’s responsibility.
If you suspect your water line is frozen, contact the city offices immediately, and someone there will notify the Public Works Department. The staff will provide a list of contractors who have successfully worked in the city, but ultimately the choice of contractor rests with the resident. The public-works department staff will work with the homeowner and contractor to assure access to the curb box, opening and closing the water flow.
If your pipes have been frozen and thawed, we recommend this pencil-thin flow of water to prevent the service from refreezing. The cost of running water is cheaper (approximately $ 2 to $ 2.50 per day) than hiring a contractor to thaw the service line. Thawing of pipes can cost between several hundred dollars up to a thousand dollars for some.
I understand running water is an additional financial burden for residents. To help offset the cost, the sewer costs have been capped from the billing cycle in November and December. This cycle is typically the lowest consumption month providing the maximum benefit.
Warmer weather is coming. At least that’s what the Farmer’s Almanac says!
In the spring, the ground thaws from the top and bottom and the last frost to leave the ground is in the middle. The average last frost is around April 5 at a depth of about 20 inches. Near Ottertail, frost was measured at 95 inches (almost 8 feet) this winter.
I encourage you to call the city or watch the city’s website for updates on when it’s safe to stop running water.
Have a warm day!