Pipes freeze, break during our long cold winter
An ongoing winter marked by exceptional cold has sent frost deeper than usual, resulting in pipes freezing underground across Wright County and beyond.
A Facebook post by the City of Clarion advised that residents monitor their pipes as follows:
“Find the faucet closest to your meter (preferably a hard water faucet in the basement or lower level) and let the water run for at least 15-20 seconds. Check the temperature of the water, normal water temperature from the main should be approximately 56 degrees, if the temperature of your water is 40 degrees or lower, you may choose to let the water run at a small steady stream, the lower the temperature, the more water you need to run.”
The City estimated the frost may have descended between 4 and a half to 5 and a half feet. According to Kendall Johnson, president of Oldson Plumbing of Eagle Grove, pipes are usually laid around four feet underground. “With lack of snow and extended cold, the frost just went deeper,” he said.
Mike Goodwin of Mort’s Water Company in Latimer said that Belmond appeared to be the hardest-hit of area towns, where he had heard around 80 homes were without water. “A lot has to do with the soil types those homes are around,” Goodwin said. “There’s a lot of sand around Belmond, and that’s where they have problems.”
For homes affected in Belmond, a Facebook post from the local school district states:
“The Belmond-Klemme Community School District will open up the Jacobson Elementary locker rooms for any who wish to shower or fill water jugs. The building will be open Monday-Friday 5 pm – 8 pm. Please bring towels and any toiletries you may need as those items will not be provided.
Both Johnson and Goodwin suggest that the freezing problem will get worse before it gets better: as snow melts, it leaves the ground with less protection, pushing the frost further down during colder nighttime temperatures.