Dozens in Oelwein might be without running water for weeks - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dozens in Oelwein might be without running water for weeks

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Drinking water, doing dishes, even using the toilet is nearly impossible for dozens of people in eastern Iowa.

"Turned the water on and there was not water," said Jody Buhr, Oelwein Unity Point Clinic Administrator.

For the doctors at UnityPoint who use water everyday for their patients, this was a change they had to work with.

"Yesterday, we went to Fareway and got gallon jugs of water," said Buhr.

The clinic isn't the only ones with frozen pipes. More than 40 residents in Oelwein are without running water due to frozen pipes.

City officials are calling this a "severe weather event," but it's happening underground.

"The frost line is set at 48 inches, we are experiencing frost at five and a half feet," said Vic Kane, utilities superintendent.

Kane says his crews are currently working through four water main breaks, while trying to get to all the homes without running water.

He says, though, their thawing machine is out of commission because of a broken part. So now they are hoping to get a hold of a welder. 

"Otherwise mother nature is just going to have to bring the frost up a couple of feet and let everything out of it's grasp," said Kane.

Kane says even with their machine, people could still be without water for a few more weeks.

"Realistically we have one machine, 40 people even it you can score one a day that's 40 days," said Kane.

The City of Oelwein is trying to help people who may need drinking water or a hot shower.

Drinking water is being provided at city hall. People can also take hot showers at the Williams Wellness Center in town. You must register by calling city hall.

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