Janesville residents running water instructed to keep it flowing

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Marcia Nelesen
Wednesday, April 2, 2014

JANESVILLE--It might reach 50 degrees above ground, but below ground, it's still darn cold.

With balmy weather last weekend, at least one city homeowner decided to turn off the faucet he or she was running to keep pipes from freezing.

Before long, water crews were responding to the home to thaw frozen pipes.

About 470 Janesville property owners have been told to run water constantly through at least one faucet to keep it moving through smaller service pipes that come off water mains.

“Just because we have a 67-degree day doesn't mean it's thawed out,” said Dave Botts, city utility director.

The ground frost extended deeper than it has in many years because of the bitter cold the area experienced this winter, he said.

Botts said the utility continues to ask residents to check water temperatures. If water is in the mid-30s, that's not good, he said.

“Any less than that, and it's going to start freezing,” he said.

Residents should contact utility staff if they discover water at low temperatures.

“We want to know," Botts said. "That way it helps us know what the system is doing."

Those who have been asked to keep their water running should continue doing so, he said.

Botts doubts residents who have not had problems will experience frozen pipes, but he did say nothing is for certain this season.

“There probably won't be anybody else affected,” Botts said.

Homes that proved the most vulnerable were those at the end of water mains or in cul de sacs, where there isn't much water flow.

“Then there were the random ones around town where we really don't have an idea” why they froze, he said.

Possibly, residents were away from their homes for longer periods or just weren't running much water.

Botts said utility staff would personally notify residents when staff believes it is safe to turn off the water. Botts previously estimated water shut-off would come at the end of March, but temperatures are rising later than expected, he said.

People who are running water will pay for the volume they used at the same time last year, Botts said.

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