At a special meeting on Feb. 27th the City Council voted to allow staff to make adjustments to the water and sewer bills for customers who are running water to keep their water lines from freezing. If customers are running water to address this issue they should let us know by calling City Hall at 354-2292.
Staff will then review the usage information from February, March and April and compare it to the typical usage in the winter months in 2013 and January 2014. If the usage is 1000 cubic feet or more above the normal usage based on past history, a credit for 1000 cubic feet of usage, which amounts to $19.52, will be placed on the bill for each month that usage reached this threshold. The sewer bill will also be adjusted back to the typical average if additional usage is indicated.
Property owners are encouraged to monitor the temperature of their tap water and if after running the water for about 10 minutes, the reading is below 38 degrees, it is recommended to run a constant pencil-sized stream of water from one faucet in the building to keep the service line from freezing. The Minnesota Rural Water Association estimates that a pencil-sized stream amounts to about 10,800 gallons in a month or about 0.25 gallons per minute. A good way to gauge the proper amount of flow is that it should take about 4 minutes to fill a gallon milk jug or other container.
Maintenance of the water line is the responsibility of the property owner the entire distance to the city main. The cost to thaw a frozen water service line can range from $400 to over $1,000 depending on how long it takes to thaw the line.