Miss-Lou cities prepare pipes for deep freeze

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 9, 2010

NATCHEZ — With temperatures dropping into the teens and wind chills in the single digits, public officials hope city pipes work efficiently through the weekend.

“We’re not having any problems so far,” Vidalia Utilities Manager Mark Morace said. “We’ve gotten everything winterized.”

Morace said pipes were wrapped and prepared for winter weather in the fall, but further precautionary actions have been taken.

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“It’s been so cold this weekend that we started adding heat strips to some of our more vital stuff,” Morace said. “We treat the water here, and a lot of (those pipes) are important.”

Ferriday Water Supervisor Gregory Griggs said he is hoping for the best this weekend.

“Right now we’re going pretty good,” Griggs said.

Griggs said water levels are low from people letting their faucets drip.

“This is a record cold. I’d rather see (people) letting their water drip than them having to fix their pipes,” Griggs said.

Griggs said the best way to protect water lines is to keep the water dripping until it’s frozen.

Once the water is frozen and no longer running, Griggs said that’s when water needs to be cut off.

W&W Plumbing and Heating Co. owner J.D. Whitehead said leaving faucets running may work for some houses, but for mobile homes, it’s a bad idea.

“A lot of people say they leave their faucets dripping and running across the house, and the (people) I have talked to haven’t had problems,” Whitehead said.

“But in mobile homes, you don’t need to leave them on because your sewer lines are above the ground, and the water can stop it up, back up and flood your house.”

Whitehead said it’s better for mobile home owners to shut their water off completely during extreme winter temperatures, and that once a water source is cut off, it is important that faucets are left on.

“As long as (the pipe) is frozen and you leave the pressure on it, it will bust, but if you give it some room, it has room to push out,” Whitehead said.

Natchez City Engineer David Gardner said he believes the city’s pipes are safe.

“Everything is good. I’ve asked both plant managers that if they have pumps and water trapped in (their lines) to go ahead and get it drained,” Gardner said. “I’m more concerned about the public. I don’t want them to have problems with their pipes.

“We’re asking everyone to wrap their pipes and leave a drip in anything that may have a tendency to freeze,” Gardner said. “Know where your valves are so you know how to turn them off.”

Gardner said when using a faucet, turn on the one that is furthest away from the street so the water runs through more water lines in the house.