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Public Post is a community reporting initiative using digital tools to report on cities and towns across Vermont.Public Post is the only resource that lets you browse and search documents across dozens of Vermont municipal websites in one place.Follow reporter Amy Kolb Noyes and #PublicPost on Twitter and read news from the Post below.

Montpelier Joins Communities Warning Against Frozen Pipes

Montpelier is the latest community to suggest water customers consider taking precautions against freezing pipes. The city is warning that incidents of frozen water pipes are on the rise, after many consecutive days of below-zero temperatures.

"Currently, the Department of Public Works has found that frost is close to 60 inches deep and therefore reaching buried water lines," a city press release states. "In typical years, the department receives very few frozen pipe calls. However, so far this year 18 properties have experienced frozen exterior pipes in the last two weeks. The city is suggesting that some owners take preventative action now in an attempt to avoid increasing this problem city-wide."

Montpelier suggests water customers who fall into the following categories take action:

  • Residents who live in homes that have experienced frozen pipes before.
  • Anyone living in a home that is 50 years old or older.
  • Households with one or two occupants or those who do not generally use a lot of water on a daily basis.
  • Anyone who is going away, or who is not at home on a regular basis.

For residents in the above categories, Montpelier is suggesting letting a pencil-width stream of water run at all times, "preferably in a faucet at the highest point in your house, until the end of March, or until the ground frost has thawed." The press release added, "Letting water drip is insufficient in these circumstances."
The press release continued, "Residents who fall into one or more of the categories above for taking preventative measures should not turn their water off when daytime temperatures go above freezing. Pipes can freeze in a short span of time because of the ground frost level. A sunny day does not affect the frost line, which has reached depths of over 5 feet and is expected to deepen before the winter ends.

"Frozen pipes can be costly and very inconvenient to deal with. They can freeze at the house or in the street. Residents who lose their water should call their own plumber and the Department of Public Works at 223-9510 so that a team can determine where the problem lies and appropriate action can be taken to clear the lines and return service."

Last week Winooski issued a similar warning to water customers. Milton and Fair Haven have been using their town Facebook pages to remind residents to take precautions against freezing pipes. Jeffersonville's reservoirs were nearly depleted last week before a water main break was discovered there. St. Albans was dealing with a major water main break Tuesday. And both Jeffersonville and Alburgh have been under boil water notices due to burst pipes.

Amy is an award winning journalist who has worked in print and radio in Vermont since 1991. Her first job in professional radio was at WVMX in Stowe, where she worked as News Director and co-host of The Morning Show. She was a VPR contributor from 2006 to 2020.
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