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Pequot Lakes, Backus implement freeze run policies

The Pequot Lakes City Council on Tuesday, Jan. 6, approved a freeze run/frozen water service lines policy to be used to keep city water mains and service lines open when there is a chance of freezing.

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The Pequot Lakes City Council on Tuesday, Jan. 6, approved a freeze run/frozen water service lines policy to be used to keep city water mains and service lines open when there is a chance of freezing.

Under the policy, the city clerk will create a list of homes that have had frozen lines in the past or could in the future and will contact those people to announce the beginning and end of a freeze run.

The city will provide all freeze run participants with a thermometer to check the water temperature from inside the home under provisions. When the water temperature is less than 36 degrees Fahrenheit, the participant will start a freeze run and contact city hall.

Freeze run participants will continuously run water about the stream width of a pencil, and their water/sewer bill will be adjusted to pre-freeze run amounts if they have been notified by city hall. Pre-freeze run amounts are based on an average usage for September through December.

Freeze-run participants must contact city hall to let city staff know they have started running water for the freeze run.

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The policy was created after many water service lines froze last winter.

Likewise, in response to frozen pipes during the 2013-14 winter season, the Backus City Council created and adopted a policy to deal with freeze runs. The policy defines the city's responsibilities concerning frozen water lines and explains which city properties are approved to go on freeze run when temperatures drop below a certain temperature.

Similar to Pequot Lakes, those property owners were sent thermometers and instructions for testing their own water temperatures in November when temperatures began to drop.

The first Backus water lines to freeze this winter belonged to the home of the late Chuck Dufour, said Lee Bundy, Backus' water/sewer operator. More lines are at risk of freezing if temperatures stay low and there is no snow to insulate the ground.

Mike Loven, Pequot Lakes public works supervisor, said later last week that people who historically have had freeze up problems are being contacted to get thermometers, but the city hasn't had any reported freeze ups yet.

"It's just one of those wait and sees," Loven said. "It was really cold early in November, and then it warmed up some. I'm not sure exactly how much frost is in the ground. We haven't had to do any digging lately. In the event this cold weather continues, and if or when we ever get any snow on top - that will certainly help. But it's not looking good, just like last year."

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