Don Katlin of the Bethel Water District said Friday that the frost line underground in areas that have been plowed has reached a depth of six feet – the same depth as most BWD and residential water pipes.
As a result, there is a danger of pipes freezing. “We’re right at the critical point,” he said.
Katlin said the early winter cold and lack of snow contributed to the depth of the freeze. The thick blanket of snow now provides insulation, but not under driveways and other plowed areas, so the continuing cold is reaching ever deeper there.
“Anyone going away for three or four days could be in for a rude awakening,” said Katline, because with on one home and no water flowing, the likelihood of a freezeup increases.
Katlin said the water coming out of faucets in these conditions is about 33 degrees.
“You don’t need ice in your drinking water,” he said.
He recommends that if people do go away, they leave faucets running with water “about the width of a pencil lead.”
In more normal winters, Katlin said, the frost line is typically between five and five and a half feet.
He said the BWD has recently had to thaw out some residential pipes that have been frozen.