GREEN BAY – “I was glad they gave me a warning because it’s a huge inconvenience not to have water,” said Scot Bratz of Green Bay.
Since November, the Green Bay Water Utility has dealt with more than 130 main breaks.
As of Wednesday, the utility had asked around 600 of its 36,000 customers to leave the water on.
“The noise will drive you crazy,” commented Bratz. “It keeps me up at night. So I’ll throw a rag underneath it like this. I’ll just take a towel or something and I’ll put that right there.”
The Green Bay Water Utility has asked hundreds of people across the city to keep a slow trickle going to keep pipes from freezing. And more could be affected.
“They’re scattered a little bit in the downtown area, but there’s also some on the far west side we’re getting now too,” said Nancy Quirk, Green Bay Water Utility general manager.
So you’ve been asked to run your water at a trickle. How much is a trickle? Grab a pencil before you head to the sink. Quirk says the stream should be the same thickness.
Water problems have kept utility crews busy from sun up to sun down. Around 200 customers have had pipes freeze this winter.
“With the roads not being snow-covered, and the frost being as deep as it is, and the road where most of the mains are, that’s where they’re having the trouble where the water is freezing up,” said Cross Construction Control Surveyor Justin DeStarkey.
Four crews went from house to house Wednesday turning the water back on with this welding machine.
“Depending on where it’s froze, it’s going to keep running that current through and heating that pipe up and the pipe’s going to get hotter than hell and it will slowly but surely melt that frozen ice,” DeStarkey explained.
Some people say they are letting the water run even if the water utility hasn’t notified them.
“Because our pipes are kind of old. You know everybody has been having problems around the area so we’ve just been keeping up with everything,” said Taunya Van Straten of Green Bay.
Unless you’ve heard from the utility, you will have to pay for the water. Those who have received a notice, won’t be charged. How much will picking up the tab cost the utility? And could it cost customers in the future?
“About 36 to 40 thousand dollars. And that is an amount that will not affect the rates of our utility,” said Quirk.
Quirk says keep that trickle going until you receive a notification to turn it off. She adds that may not happen until April.