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Some Bemidji households lose water access as pipes freeze

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BEMIDJI --  About 50 households have reported frozen pipes so far this winter to the city as unusual cold extends deeper in the ground, Todd Anderson, Bemidji water and sewer superintendent, said Monday.

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Although above-freezing temperatures are predicted for part of next week, the air temperature isn’t going to have much effect on the frost in the ground, he said.  

“It can be 40 degrees tomorrow and the frost is still going to go down in the ground more,” Anderson said.

Higher air temperatures will help keep water stored in towers warmer, he said.

Last week, the city began encouraging residents to measure their water temperature and run their water continuously (and free of charge) if it was below 35 degrees.

Anderson said no main water lines have frozen over this winter, but the city has been flushing water through at-risk water and sewer lines that are older and shallower to keep them from freezing.

“It’s common practice, we do it every year,” he said of the preventive flushing. “We just have to be especially diligent… this year.”

The frost could grow for another month, Anderson said.

“This is more near the beginning than the end,” he said.

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