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Public works of Blackduck recommends running water lines until April 1

Nine feet of frost in the ground and 14 locations with frozen pipes.

That’s what winter has amounted to in Blackduck and as far as Bob Klug can remember that’s more than double what he has experienced in his 12 years of working as public works supervisor.

In more than a decade of working for the city, Klug recalls having around six incidents with frozen pipes. This winter, pipes have frozen in 12 residential homes, one business and at St. Ann’s Catholic Church.

Klug’s father held the position prior to him, beginning in 1976, and Klug said he doesn’t remember a winter that was this severe.

Klug reported at the Blackduck City Council meeting on March 10 that two more locations had experienced frozen pipes on Monday, including Northlander Gift Shop on Summit Avenue.

When the temperatures warm up, the frost is actually driven deeper into the ground so residents who are constantly running their water should continue to do so. City Hall has had 38 customers report that they will be running their water.

Klug said that he would like to have them running their water lines until at least April 1. Even then, customers should take the temperature of their water before turning it off.

The city has been using 20,000 extra gallons of water per day, which would usually cost between $1 and $2 per household.

“Of course we’re not charging the homeowners,” Klug said. “They’re saving us money, too, at the same time.”

One disadvantage of constantly having to run the water is residents have to make sure their sewer lines don’t freeze as well.

“Residents have to keep an eye on their drains and make sure they’re all going down because when you’re putting ice cold water into the sewer then your sewer line can freeze,” Klug said. “If people leave for a weekend and they leave their water running and they have a backup, they could flood their basement.”

Klug also warned that if a neighbor has had frozen pipes, it’s likely that the surrounding homes or businesses could be in trouble too.

There was recently a break in a water main on Main Street. Klug said that the main was about eight feet underground and the frost went down about nine feet.

Public Works spent three days trying to mend the break, which Klug estimated also gave up 20,000 gallons of water per day for the city.

When a line like that one breaks, the city will shut off the water and attempt to thaw the pipe.

“We had a good fire going,” Klug laughed.

Jillian Gandsey

Jillian Gandsey is the Multimedia Editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is an Iron Range native and a 2013 graduate of Bemidji State University. Follow Jillian on Twitter and Instagram @jilliangandsey. Contact her at 218-333-9786, 218-996-1216 or at 

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