City Crews Battle Frozen Meters and Pipes

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Updated: 1/14/2013 7:30 pm

Frozen pipes and power outages, this is how many in eastern Idaho started the workweek. The second bitter cold snap of the season shutdown schools and left many without water. Phil Campbell rode along with a local water crew and tells us how they were able to restore this vital resource to those affected by the cold.  

24 hours a day, seven days a week the Pocatello Water Department is doing their best to make sure its 263 miles of water pipe are working properly.  This includes days like today where subzero temperatures had crews scrambling throughout the city.

“People need water,” said Mike Bloom of the water department. “You don’t understand how bad you need water until you don’t have it.”

For a quarter century, Mike has been with the city. He has seen it all and when it comes to frozen meters, he says you should leave them to the experts.

“We have somebody here until 11:00 in the evening, every day of the year,” said Bloom. “And so if you are froze up and it’s 8:00 PM, 7:00 PM, call us. We would rather us thaw it out because if that meter does break, what tends to happen is they panic and they don’t know how to shut it off.”

Mike says this isn’t the worst winter he has seen but it’s certainly up there. He says there was a winter a few decades ago where water workers were actually sleeping at the shop in between calls.  They didn’t even have time to go home at night. Fortunately, it doesn’t look like things will be that bad this year.

We all should know the drill by now, run a little water when it’s cold and open cabinet doors to let the heat from your house warm the pipes.  But you should also keep a layer of snow on your meter cover to insulate it from the cold.

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