Crews thaw icy pipes - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Crews thaw icy pipes


If you build it, they will come. At least, that's how it's been working out for Wes Cooper lately.

"Right now the sound we're hearing is the water that just got freed up due to an ice blockage," Cooper said.

Cooper is the General Manager of the Waterloo Stanley Steemer, and he uses a homemade rig to thaw frozen pipes. He starts by feeding hose into the frozen line, sometimes hundreds of feet. Then, he runs steam through it to clear the blockage.

"It's a lot cheaper than actually having to dig up the pipes, dig up the road, anything like that," Cooper said.

Once he clears the ice plug, water comes shooting out of the pipe. Cooper said he has done hundreds of these procedures, as frost penetrates deeper and deeper into the ground.

"We're finding frost four, sometimes as much as four and a half feet deep," Dennis Clark, of the Waterloo Water Works, said. "It's probably deeper in some spots."

Clark said most pipes are buried about six feet deep, but the frost is getting worse. He also noted that deeper snow usually insulates the ground better.

"I've been at the Water Works for 10 years, and this is by far the worst we've seen," he said. "We've had a few frozen lines in the past, but nothing like this year."

Both Cooper and Clark recommend running the cold water taps in your home to prevent freeze-ups. Clark clarified that if the cold water temperature is below 40 degrees, you might be in trouble.

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