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Another cold casualty? Water service

In Erie, some may go without until spring thaw

ERIE – A dozen houses in Erie have no water service because the village's lines are frozen. And they might have to go without water until the spring thaw, an official says.

"There's really nothing you can do," said Doug Farran, the village's public works supervisor. "Sometimes you can use a welder to loosen them up."

On really cold days, he advises, water customers should turn on a faucet to a small, steady stream.

"So long as there is water moving through the three-quarter-inch line, it shouldn't freeze," Farran said.

Erie is among a number of area towns that have experienced such problems in recent days, especially today, when the air temperature plunged to about minus 20.

Lyndon has had a number of customers report frozen lines. As of this morning, five customers were affected, said Doug Dunlap, a village board member.

Frost in the village is going 48 inches deep, he said, which is "unheard of."

"We haven't had temperatures like this since the 1970s and 1980s," Dunlap said. "Some of the people from the old days have come to help us. We're learning. We're working from sun up to sun down. It's really, really cold work. I was out there."

The village is using a welder and a hot water jetter to warm up pipes, he said.

In Prophetstown, a handful of water customers have had service interruptions because of frozen lines, said Rhonda Carter, the municipal secretary.

"We also, unfortunately, have a sewer line frozen up, but they're working on it," she reported.

In Sterling, Illinois American, the water utility in the city, reports only one customer affected by a frozen utility-owned line. Amboy also has had no residents suffering from frozen city-owned water lines, a spokeswoman said.

Dixon is "unique" in that the customer is responsible for the pipe from the property line to the city main, said Rusty Cox, the city's water superintendent. The city has received 16 reports of frozen lines to houses since Jan. 30.

Rock Falls' water department couldn't be reached for comment this morning.

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