Frozen pipes force some GB residents to get water from hoses

Some house in Green Bay have to get drinking water from a neighbor's house through a hose. (WLUK/Andrew LaCombe)
Some house in Green Bay have to get drinking water from a neighbor's house through a hose. (WLUK/Andrew LaCombe)

GREEN BAY - Temperatures have reached above freezing the past three days, but plumbing problems continue for several Northeast Wisconsin communities.

The ground is still frozen, causing water in underground pipes to freeze. Some people are now getting help from their neighbors.

In Green Bay, 49 houses are getting water through a hose from a neighbor. The city owns and has installed those hoses.

Neil Walker of Green Bay said the water in his pipes froze Sunday night. The next day, the city installed a hose from his neighbor's house to his house.

"Better than no water at all. Bottled water is fine, but only for a short while. It's tough to take a shower in bottled water," said Walker

Walker says the pipes that lead up to his house are PVC or plastic, so the city is unable to heat them up to thaw them out.

Paul Pavlik, the water distribution manager for Green Bay, says PVC pipes can be thawed out with a water jet machine. That process takes a lot of time.

"It's something we aren't going to be able to address right away, so we get the hose out and hose them up as soon as we can. We've probably got a mile and a half out of hose out right now," said Pavlik.

Pavlik says the hoses are safe for transferring drinking water.

"This is the quickest way to get people water in these instances, so as soon as we start getting caught up and things slow down a little bit, that's the next thing on the agenda, is to go back and start trying to get people their regular feeds back," he said.

The hoses across the city may have to be used through March and even into April.

Pavlik says the hoses can decrease the water volume and pressure for both houses.

Walker says his pressure is fine. He just wants to make sure his hose doesn't freeze.

"If we just leave the faucet running at a pretty good rate that won't freeze up," he said.

He says the sound of constantly flowing water isn't ideal, and he estimates 175,000 gallons of water may go down the drain before his pipes are working again.

The city is adjusting bills so no customers have to pay for the extra water.

Walker says he really isn't worried, as long this hose keeps the water flowing.

Green Bay is one of about 25 communities in Northeast Wisconsin that have given some residents special instructions about keeping their water running.

FOX 11 is also aware of a few other municipalities that have hooked up hoses between houses.