ELKHART — With more extreme cold temperatures expected to arrive Wednesday, Feb. 26, area municipalities are renewing suggestions that water customers leave their faucets running at a trickle to help prevent frozen lines.
Numerous communities have reported frozen underground lateral lines that run from houses and businesses to the street where they connect with larger water mains.
Goshen and Elkhart officials are both suggesting water customers continue to let a cold water faucet run slightly with the water stream equal to the size of a pencil lead.
While pipes inside some houses and businesses have been freezing for weeks, the unseasonably cold weather has pushed the frost line deeper below ground to the extent that lateral lines are being affected.
As of last week, the city of Elkhart was aware of more than 200 customers whose lateral lines were frozen, according to Laura Kolo, utility services manager.
Goshen issued a freeze warning two weeks ago and a statement released by the city predicted the warning may remain in effect for another month.
“Even with March warming trends, the frost line will not contract as quickly as the air temperature rises. In fact, it is possible for the frost line to deepen even after the surface temperature begins to moderate,” The Goshen statement said.
Goshen officials are offering to make a billing adjustment to residents who let their water trickle, but to qualify, customers must contact the city at 533-9399. Water bills will be adjusted from the day the customer contacts the city. Anyone who has already contacted the city does not need to do so again, the Goshen statement said.
Elkhart Mayor Dick Moore said customers who want an adjustment to their bills for participating can appeal to the city’s board of works for relief.
Goshen customers who experience a loss of water service or a slower than normal water flow due to a suspected frozen water line are asked to contact the water utility maintenance department at 534-5306 between the hours of 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Elkhart customers should call 264-4273 to make a report between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Goshen officials will continue to monitor the frost line and will make an announcement when they believe the danger of frozen pipes has passed.
Wednesday night’s low is expected to be around 2, but the overnight low Thursday could fall to minus 12, according to the National Weather Service.
Overnight lows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be around 10 degrees.