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Cold causing water pipes to freeze - 10th Street South problems today

Lead Summary

by Reed Anfinson, Editor and Publisher
****The City of Benson has experienced a water main break on 10th Street South. Repairs will start on the break today  at 12pm and will take 2-3 hours. Residents affected will be those on 10th Street South from Kansas Avenue to Homewood Avenue.
A stretch of 17 consecutive days with below zero temperatures was to finally end Wednesday with the National Weather Service forecasting a low of only 10 degrees above zero.
From Jan. 26 to Feb. 11, temperatures fell below zero every day with lows averaging a minus 13.9 degrees – 17.9 degrees below the average low for the time period of 4 degrees above zero.
Highs during the period averaged just 9.5 degrees, 13.1 degrees below the average high for the period of 22.6 degrees.
Thirty-five of the last 46 days have seen below zero temperatures.
That persistent bitter cold is starting to cause problems for homeowners, and more than just in the size of the heating bills.
At Monday night’s Benson City Council meeting City Manager Rob Wolfington reported that the city is getting reports of waterlines to homes in the city freezing. At least five homes in the community have been affected and it is expected more will be even if the temperatures start to warm Wednesday.
As the frost sinks deep into the ground, with reports of it already down to five feet in some areas, more water lines could be freezing up. Thawing those lines can cost the homeowner $1,000 or more. Costs escalate if the water pipe is also broken and has to be replaced.
Wolfington told the council that just before its meeting started at 5:30 p.m., he had received an urgent message from the Minnesota Rural Water Association asking for the names of companies that thawed frozen water lines.
There aren’t that many business that do it, he said.  It takes a certain amount of expertise and training, as well as the right equipment. Since water lines don’t freeze during most winters, not a lot of companies invest in the time and equipment to do it.
Nelson Plumbing in Willmar does it, he said, and the city is looking into whether or not Benson-based Enviro-Dyne can do it.

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