Deep freeze

MARQUETTE – Several residences and the Norlite Nursing Center were without regular water hook ups Sunday evening and much of Monday following a water main break on Homestead Street in Marquette.

Water was fully restored to the area by 4 p.m. Monday. The break was called into the Marquette City Police Department at 3:25 p.m. Sunday, according to its service log, and the Department of Public Works was notified.

By about 6 p.m., the DPW had closed down Homestead Street to deal with the problem.

DPW Superintendent Scott Cambensy said Monday morning crews had worked to provide temporary water hook-ups to most of the residences – including Norlite Nursing Center – which he said could come from a neighbor’s water line or a fire hydrant.

Eric Johnson, Norlite administrator, said the city was doing a really good job helping restore normal water service.

“They’ve been actively working on this since yesterday afternoon and hopefully they will have it all fixed up soon here in a short amount of time,” Johnson said Monday morning.

The nursing center is a 99-bed nursing and rehab facility located at 701 Homestead St.

“We’ve handled it very good here,” Johnson said of the loss of water service. “We’re working on our emergency preparedness that we have in place and all is going well, as smooth as it can.”

Cambensy said the city has responded to eight or nine water main breaks this winter, and during an average season there are about a dozen.

“That is slightly concerning that we’re already approaching that,” Cambensy said. “The large concern now is we’ve got over 90 (individual) services that have froze.”

Cambensy said the pipes – which connect residences and business to the larger water mains – can freeze for a number of reasons. All crawl-spaces, basements or other areas where water pipes are should be maintained at a temperature of at least 40 degrees, Cambensy said, noting in areas where this is not possible that heat tape is another good solution. Though, residents should check to make sure the tape is plugged in and functioning correctly.

While the 90 service freeze-ups are above the norm for a typical winter, Cambensy said 90 is still not as bad as it could be.

“The year that was really bad was in ’93-’94,” Cambensy said. “That year they had over 800.”

He also said the city tries to replace old piping while doing other projects that require the ground to be dug up.

“There’s a lot of people out there with water services that are galvanized lines that are 50, 60, 70 years old,” Cambensy said. “They’re probably running short on their life.”

For more tips on how to prevent frozen pipes, visit City residents who believe their service may be freezing should contact the DPW at 228-0444 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Outside of normal business hours, residents should call 228-0488.

Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.