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February bill didn't warn Amboy residents about frozen pipes

AMBOY – Mayor Tom Nauman says the city warned residents about the potential for frozen pipes, so they should have heeded the city's advice to let their faucets drip.

"It's mind-boggling why these people don't leave their water on," he said in an interview this week.

But the city's February water bill, which was issued the first of the month, contained no warning to keep faucets dripping. Such a notification didn't appear until the March bill, weeks after some pipes had frozen.

"Due to extreme cold and frost," the bill read, "the city is advising residents to let water drip to avoid freezing pipes."

Alderwoman Deanne Hoy said the only way the city notified residents beforehand was in a statement by an alderman at a City Council meeting.

"It wasn't until after we started having issues with frozen pipes did we discuss notifying [residents]," Hoy said.

The problems have occurred on the city's side of the system. Six places were affected. As of late this week, two still had problems, according to the city.

Nauman suggested in an earlier interview that problems on the residents' side of the system could have caused blockages in the city's portion.

Michael Therriault, who lives in the 700 block of East Main Street, lost water service for about 3 weeks. He said he spent $2,000, first trying to thaw out his line, and then installing a new one because the city told him it was his problem.

After spending that money, the city found out the problem was on the city's side.

Nauman said Therriault made a mistake in putting in a new line.

"Who in their right mind would put in a water line when it's 30 degrees below zero?" the mayor said.

Therriault said he had the work done Feb. 21, when the high temperature was in the mid-30s. He said he did the work because he wanted water.

Sam Taormina, co-owner of The Beef Hut, which has been without water for nearly 4 weeks, said city workers were working on his problem today, but he had yet to be connected.

He's angry with the mayor, who, he said, originally told him that he would have to wait until the spring thaw to get water. Others have accused the mayor of similar statements. The mayor denies it.

"It's the mayor's job to provide water to the citizens," Taormina said. "In that, he is failing."

Nauman couldn't be reached for comment today.

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