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Winter Woes: Without Water

Updated: 02/18/2014 11:01 PM
Created: 02/18/2014 4:33 PM WDIO.com

Angie Cannata and her two kids had quite the unusual week last week. They didn't have any water, thanks to frozen pipes. So they were gathering water in the bathtub to flush the toilet, and hauling water in from a neighbor for cooking, for seven long days.

"It was awful. You don't know how much you need something until it's gone," she told us from her Hibbing home.

Her pipes had frozen, along with many others in the city.  The deep freeze we've had this winter is to blame.

She called the Hibbing Public Utilities, who at first told her they were so busy she'd need to hire a private contractor to thaw the lines or she'd be waiting until March.

But then, the HPUC hired three contractors to help them thaw the lines. And Cannata's home was thawed out by Saturday night.

General Manager Gary Myers said they've gotten 101 calls for service to thaw lines. As of Tuesday morning, they had gotten to 68 of them.

"We've probably never seen more than 15 calls a year. So now we're dealing with five times as many," Myers told us.

It can take anywhere from two hours to eight hours to thaw the lines. 

Folks are being encouraged to still run water in one faucet continuously, to keep the pipes from freezing.

Water main breaks are also a problem. There's now one outside of Cannata's house, and that means a loss of water pressure. But it's still better than nothing.

Myers doesn't have encouraging news for the rest of the winter season. "I think it might get worse before it gets better," he added.

Other cities across the Northland are facing the same problems.

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WI AREAS AFFECTED: Burnett; Price; Sawyer; Washburn
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