City says: ‘Run a stream of water to avoid frozen pipes’

running water

Over the weekend, the city of Prairie du Chien Water Department began recommending residents run a small, pencil-sized stream of water in their homes to prevent frozen laterals (pipes) to their homes. This recommendation remains in effect until further notice and is voluntary. Deep frost poses a potential risk to the city’s utility mains and more importantly, laterals that bring water to homes. Water flowing helps keep water temperatures warmer and limits the risk of potential freezing.

Cold water faucets should be used because running hot water is not as effective and also wastes energy. Customers should watch for discolored water or rusty water as well, as this is an early indication of pipes freezing. If you see discolored water, run your cold water hard until the water clears.

The city is recommending, but not requiring, that residents let a small, pencil-sized stream of water run at one faucet in their homes until further notice. According to Water Department Director Larry Gates, allowing a pencil-sized stream to run continuously will cost approximately $1 per day in added utility charges. Pursuant to Public Service Commission rules, a water credit will be established and provided to all customers, based upon annual consumption at this time last year. Once the dollar amount on the credit is established, it will be reflected on homeowners’ bills. While the credit may not cover the entire cost for each and every resident, this cost is much less than a plumbing repair, which would be the responsibility of the property owner for any water lateral damage on their property.

In addition:
•If your water service freezes up, please contact Crawford County Dispatch (326-2421) or City Hall (326-6406). It will be at least 48 HOURS before Water Utility personnel will be able to get to your location, due to the large number of frozen laterals.

•Hoffman Hall will be open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., for residents who need to take showers. You will be asked to show your ID. These services are being provided to city residents only.

•Walmart has donated bottled water to the city for dispersal. These will be available in City Hall (use the side entrance on the west side of the building) on a first-come, first-serve basis. These services are being provided to city residents only and are being offered on an “honor” system for now. Further availability will be announced on the city’s website ( and Facebook page.

•Temperatures are predicted to approach 40 degrees this coming week, with the potential for periods of rain or a rain/snow mix. An isolated thunderstorm is also possible. Melting snow and refreezing at night could lead to some slick spots. In addition, if rain does occur, ponding of water around clogged storm drains is possible. The city is asking residents to pitch in and, if they see a storm drain near their property clogged with snow and ice, try to open it up. With all of the other-related weather issues, the city may not be able to get to these as quickly.

If you have any questions, please contact City Hall at 326-6406.

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