OTSEGO, Mich. (Feb. 11, 2014) – Some people who live in Otsego are being asked to run their water continuously for the next couple of months.
Workers in the area are seeing an increase in frozen service pipes. They said this problem occurs more often in the older parts of town, where the pipes weren’t buried deep enough to keep them from freezing.
“A new pipe usually gets installed at 5 feet of burrying depth,”Luke Keyzer with the City of Otsego Water Department said. “Some of this older stuff’s only 3-to-3 and a half (deep).”
Keyzer said the only way to prevent shallow pipes from freezing is to leave a faucet running until winter begins to thaw.
“You’ll have to run it 24-7 and you won’t be able to shut it off because the minute you shut it off it’s going to freeze up out here in the street,” Keyzer said.
For 14 years, Keyzer’s been working with the city. Over the course of his career he said this is the worst winter he’s seen yet when it comes to the amount of calls they’re getting to fix a service line. By noon on Tuesday, he’d already been called out to four households who were without water.
“Usually you get a January thaw or a February thaw, you know, and you get a couple 60 degree days in there…you lose all your snow and some of the frost comes out of the ground,” he said.
The key is getting in front of the problem. Keyzer said once a pipe freezes it’s all but easy to fix.
“We gotta get Miss Dig involved and mark all the gas lines and water…everything else…sewer lines…and that takes time,” Keyzer said.
For the people who participate in running their water to prevent the pipes from freezing they’ll need to call Otsego City Hall to get a credit on their bill. They’ll also want to place another call upon shutting their faucets off.
Kalamazoo also issued a statement on Tuesday asking their resident to do the same thing if their water meters are one inch or smaller in diameter.
Areas in Otsego where residents are being asked to run their water:
City Hall: 269-692-3391