All residents in Monona and some residents in Madison are being asked to run water to avoid freezing pipes. Middleton residents are being asked to monitor water temperature.
More than 34 frozen water laterals were reported this weekend in Madison. The Madison Water Utility said it’s the worst winter crews have seen in about 20 years.
"We typically have zero to a handful of frozen laterals every year. In the last two days we’ve had more than 30. So that’s a concern, and it’s very unusual. It’s one of the worst winters we’ve had in several decades for that," said Amy Barrilleaux, with Madison Water Utility.
The utility said the frozen laterals are mostly found on cul-de-sacs and dead-end roads.
When frozen laterals occur, neighbors are being asked to run a pencil-thin stream of water. The utility said it will subtract the higher water usage billing only for customers who have been asked directly by the utility to run water.
Monona city officials want all customers to run a cold water faucet at a continuous stream at about the size of a pencil until further notice. The utility said customers will not be billed for additional water and sewage during the stretch.
Because of an increase in reports of frozen laterals, Monona officials said crews might not be able to respond in a timely manner to requests to thaw frozen lines.
Customers in Monona who run water most of the day, including overnight, need not leave a faucet on, according to a release from the city.
City of Middleton officials are asking all customers to monitor water temperature due to the abnormally cold weather.
According to a release, residents should take periodic temperature readings of water at the cold-water faucet closest to the meter.
Officials recommend that if the water temperature is less than 34 degrees, residents should run a pencil-sized stream of water continually until contacted by Middleton Water Utility officials.
Middleton residents taking preventative measure should call the Middleton Water Utility at 608-821-8370, according to the release. The water utility will adjust water bills so residents only pay for the normal usage. Water utility officials will then contact residents when they can stop running the water.
In January, Madison Water Utility responded to the highest number of frozen meter calls for any month in at least the last decade. Last month, 38 customers had their water meters freeze and crack or burst.
In 2013, 46 meters were damaged.
Ninety-two water mains were repaired in January in Madison.
The Madison Water Utility said the current frost line appears to be 4-5 feet below ground, but it could move deeper. The city’s mains are generally buried about 6 feet below ground.
Anyone with service problems in Madison is asked to call 608-266-4661.