The Ottumwa Courier

February 10, 2014

Frozen pipe epidemic as temperatures stay low

Courier staff writer

---- — OTTUMWA — Ottumwa officials are warning about frozen pipes as winter continues to hammer the area.

On Friday officials reported frost down to three feet below the surface. But an update Monday said work crews found it as deep as four feet over the weekend. That’s getting to the depth of the city’s water mains, which Ottumwa Water and Hydro Director Mike Heffernan said average four or five feet.

The water mains aren’t the main problem, though. In order to get water into houses, the pipes must branch into feeder lines that go to the home. Those lines must pass through the frozen layer, putting them at risk. City officials reported two dozen calls about frozen feeder lines Monday morning alone.

If you turn on the tap and don’t have water, call the Ottumwa Water Works immediately at (641) 684-4606 to report the outage.

The best way to prevent pipes from freezing is keeping the water moving. A constant drip will increase water bills a bit, but it is usually enough to keep the pipes from freezing — a much more expensive event.