Update on area water mains, service lines

In Lime Springs, employees of Mehmert’s dig down to find where the water main broke.

In Lime Springs, employees of Mehmert’s dig down to find where the water main broke.

By Marcie Klomp

A few weeks ago, the big scare was LP prices. They had shot toward $5.00 per gallon for those who did not have a contract.

Prices are still high, around $3.00 per gallon. But the main topic of conversation lately is the frost line. So far it is down to 5.5 feet or deeper on areas that do not have insulating snow cover, i.e. roads and parking lots, which are cleared of snow so folks can drive.

Many towns are experiencing above normal water main breaks and frozen water lines.

Lime Springs had its first water main break on Friday, Feb. 14, in front of Elsbeth Richter’s home on N. Forest. Public Works Director Casey Sebastian said the eight-inch main just cracked, otherwise there would have been a lot more water loss.

He said the frost was 5.5 feet down, where the main cracked. He laid a piece of styrofoam over the pipe before the hole was filled in, hoping to prevent future problems in that area. On Monday he commented, “Now I’m always looking for water down the street to show another main broke.”

As of last week, Sebastian has been made aware of just two frozen lines—A&K, as was mentioned last week, and Wemark Chiropractic. Both business places have lines that run under the open space at the elevator.

Sebastian is monitoring several businesses, whose service lines run under Main Street. Friday, Lime Springs Herald was at 38.2 degrees and Nathan Schwickerath’s office (the old Rendezvous) was at 37.8. The City of Cresco was advising customers to let a stream of water run if the temperature was 40 or less.

Elma City Clerk Jim Johnson confirmed that town was in the same boat as Lime Springs. They had one main break with three or four frozen lines. He observed those froze because their lines went under the street, which had been plowed and didn’t have much insulation.

Chester has been lucky so far this year with no breaks and no frozen service lines in town, according to T.J. Reicks. He said some folks are running their water to prevent freeze-ups.

Protivin had at least three main breaks with several frozen service lines. Ken Fencl commented, “It would have been more if people hadn’t let their water run.”

Tim Courtney, Cresco’s Public Works Director, admitted the county seat has had 11 breaks, and like it or not, he is expecting more than normal before the end of the spring thaw. He knows of 19 service lines that were frozen. He too stated it was mostly those lines that ran under the street.

Although some lines have problems every year, Courtney recalls the last time the area had it so bad was in the late 1970s to early 1980s.

Cresco City Hall is keeping track of individuals who are leaving their water running. So far that number is at 200. City Council will then have to decide whether they will give those customers a discount on their water bills.

Lime Springs City Council met on Tuesday night for a budget hearing and members were going to discuss the issue as well.

Another common statement by the city guys is that it will probably get worse before it gets better. Locals should continue to monitor the temperature of the water.

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2 Responses

  1. Marcie – I enjoyed the little article about John Carroll in your last edition of the Lime Springs Herald. John and Hazel were our neighbors as we grew up and he often showed our family members his writing skills. Seeing it in the paper was a great flashback for myself and my family.. Thanks

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