Frigid weather freezes Pontiac pipes; crews offer fix, solution

Freezing temperatures with no water coming out of your facet. It's a very real problem for some in Pontiac and the problem isn't in their homes, it's underground.

The water main is fine. Water moves through it without a problem. Typically in cold weather, that's what causes problems. Instead, it's the leads that are frozen. The much smaller pipes that branch off to individual homes are frozen.

Natalie Velez has been without water for four days and could see it coming.

"Theirs went out and then hers went out and then all of a sudden all of us went out," Velez said.

She's got a sink full of dirty dishes, just waiting for the water to flow. She's relying on help from others to just have something to drink.

"Bottle of water, buckets of water, going to friends to take showers," she said.

The system is about 3 1/2 feet underground but, because it's been so cold, the frost penetrates as far as five feet.. Vince D'Angelo with D'Angelo Brothers said that causes the pipes to freeze. 

"The water mains themselves are extremely shallow and due to this cold winter the service leads have froze - the frost is actually deeper than the water main and the services themselves," D'Angelo said.

He said the problem is fixed here but they have to keep water moving to keep the problem from having again.

 "When the homeowner doesn't use their service that water is stagnate in there and the water's just sitting there in the frost line and it freezes."

That solution isn't something Sandy and Sam Murray have ever seen in 50 years in the neighborhood.

"They told us to let the water trickle, let it keep running, so it doesn't refreeze," Sam said.

The entire neighborhood was without water for several days but are happy now that it's back - which means showers and dishes get done.
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