Keep ‘bleeding’ water lines: town

FORT FRANCES—With little change in the weather since two weeks ago, the town is continuing to remind local property owners who’ve had problems with their water lines freezing in the past to run a constant flow through their pipes as a preventive measure.
Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown said Monday night that the town has had a total of 19 reports of frozen service lines since the start of the month—and wants to be sure everyone who should be “bleeding” their lines is doing so.
“Keep bleeding until the weather changes,” he remarked, adding the danger of frost reaching pipes may not let up until early May.
“It’s cheaper for the community to ‘bleed’ those lines than for us to thaw so many pipes,” Brown added.
Brown, who first put out a call Feb. 5 for property owners with a history of frozen service lines to keep a constant flow of water going through at least one tap in their homes, said many residents have been co-operative so far.
The town is able to tell by the increased volume of water being used.
“Just keep doing it,” he stressed.
As previously reported, the town’s water lines are positioned below the frost line (eight feet below the ground) to keep the water flowing all year long.
But recent frigid temperatures, coupled with the lack of snow cover this winter, has driven the frost down around the water lines, resulting in freezing.
In order to combat this, property owners with a history of frozen pipes are asked to “bleed” their line.
“All you have to do is trickle it a little,” noted Brown, recommending the stream of water be about half the width of a pencil—just enough so the water’s always running.
This should be cold water, not hot.
Brown stressed thawing frozen lines is inconvenient and costs money—whether it’s the town or property owner picking up the tab.
Frozen pipes usually are thawed using a machine that’s like a large battery charger, which runs current through the service line between the property and the main water line—heating up the pipe and melting the ice.
Public Works also uses a “pulse de-icer,” which shoots hot water into the line in pulses.
If the public has any questions, call Public Works at 274-9893.
(Fort Frances Daily Bulletin)