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Wednesday - January 3, 2018 2:31 am

La Crosse water utility getting complaints about frozen pipes, preparing for larger problems

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Long periods of extreme cold lead to frozen pipes in homes and businesses.

It's exactly what happened over the weekend in La Crosse.

Several calls came in to the La Crosse's water utility about the cold cutting off water supplies, yet nothing is afflicting the city's water system, says utility manager Mark Johnson.

"What we've seen so far have all been related to interior problems, where people have turned off heat, left the door open or a broken window," Johnson said. "That type of thing where the interior temperature drops."

Johnson says the polar vortex that plummeted the city well below zero for three months in 2014 helped the utility map out where problem spots in the city's water service could be if temps stay at dangerously low levels again.

"Hopefully, if we can be proactive about that, if it gets to the point where we'll send out letters, and at least try to avoid the scale of things that happened four years ago," Johnson said.

Johnson went on to explain how some spots are more vulnerable to freezing than others.

"If you've got a storm sewer on a street and a service crosses near the storm sewer, you've got, pretty much, a cold air conduit then that the water service has to cross," he said.

The difference between now and 2014, so far, "I think we had more snow on the ground in 2014," Johnson said.

Mitch Reynolds

Mitch Reynolds is the News Director at Midwest Family Broadcasting. He covers the internecine agonies of La Crosse city hall. He really likes basketball.

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