Extreme Cold And Deep Frost Cause Water Line Freeze-Ups

The extremely cold winter along with a deep frost are causing many water service freeze-ups throughout Minnesota, leaving people without running water. The City of Golden Valley has responded to a number of property calls regarding frozen water services, and the City’s Public Works staff expects the problem to continue as the spring warm-up pushes frost deeper into the ground, causing more services to freeze.

In the past, water lines that froze were doing so within the building and were the responsibility of the property owner. Many of the current water lines are freezing under the roadway near the corporation stop owned and maintained by the City. The cause? Eight-foot frost depths combined with near-freezing water temperatures at the City’s reservoir and water tower.

According to the Golden Valley City Code, water lines between the curb stop, which is typically located about 10-15 feet from the edge of the street, and the building are considered private and are the responsibility of the property owner. The City owns and maintains the water service from corporation stop to curb stop, which is where the incidence of frozen services is typically occurring. Thus, the City has a responsibility to thaw these water lines for property owners. Unfortunately, the high incidence of water line freeze-ups in Minnesota and much of the upper Midwest has created a shortage in equipment used to thaw water lines. However, the City’s Public Works staff has been able to assemble its own “pulse-jetting” machine to thaw Golden Valley water lines.

If you are a low-volume water consumer, the City recommends you consider running a small amount of water through one faucet day and night to prevent a possible freeze-up. (Before you do this, make sure the sink or tub you are running water into drains properly.) This decision may increase your water bill in the upcoming quarter but should ensure that you have continuous water service to your property. If your water service lines freeze, staff is currently projecting it may take as long as two to three days to thaw your line due to current demand. You may also decide to hire your own contractor to thaw the line. This can be very expensive, and it’s possible these contractors are also booked out multiple days.

Get more information about Golden Valley’s water system and how to read your water meter (click on “Understanding Meter Readings” at the bottom of the page).

If you have questions, contact Golden Valley Public Works at 763-593-8030.

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