City warns of frozen water service lines
If all the snow and cold wasn’t enough hassle, area residents are now dealing with frozen water service lines. The city of Rosemount and other area municipalities have recently issued warnings that water service lines to homes are at risk of freezing.
Rosemount engineer and public works director Andy Brotzler said city crews have responded to a number of reports of frozen lines and the threat will continue for the next four to six weeks.
According to the city’s website, water service lines can freeze in extreme temperatures. Residents who don’t use a lot of water are at a higher risk. Service lines located under driveways or parking lots that don’t have the extra insulation of snow are more susceptible to freezing.
According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources frost depth is between 12 and 48 inches at Minnesota observing locations. Soil frost depths under surfaces without snow cover have plunged to six to eight feet, which has caused the freezing of water lines throughout the state.
To help prevent water lines from freezing, Brotzler said residents and businesses can leave a faucet running at a slow steady stream for the next four to six weeks. Brotzler said the stream should be about the width of a pencil.
Leaving a faucet running will cost residents about a dollar a day, Brotzler said, but could save hundreds of dollars in repairs if the lines freeze. According to the city’s website the minimum fee for thawing lines has been $400.
Sometimes water pressure will decrease before pipes freeze but other times there is no warning at all, according to the city’s website. Brotzler said water temperature can be an indicator. If water coming from the faucet is 40 degrees or lower, the line is at risk of freezing.
The warming temperatures won’t help much at least in the near future. Brotzler said warmer air temperatures will push the frost deeper into the ground.
Residents who think they have a frozen water line should call their public works departments. Rosemount’s can be reached at 651-322-2022. Farmington’s municipal services number is 651-280-6900.