By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
Holiday week for the Town of Davis will be one for the books. At a time when everyone should be celebrating the holidays with family and friends, some Davis employees were working to restore water to the Town of Davis residents. On December 23, there was an alleged power surge that resulted in a flood. This flood damaged the water plant’s equipment that tripped out the pump and safety devices that help control the water levels inside the plant and the clear well leaving the town in an indefinite water boil advisory.
This is not an easy or quick process and with the bad weather leaving temperatures at or below zero degrees leaving roads untravellable a couple of the employees slept at the water plant. To ensure safety for the residents it was reported that the Town of Davis was working with the county health department, EMS, and state departments.
An update posted by the Town of Davis on December 27, 2022, states the boil water advisory is continuing indefinitely. The update reads, “The Town of Davis will continue under a Boil Water Advisory indefinitely! Due to a possible power surge during the recent storm, all electronics on our safety and control system are destroyed and our water operators are pumping water manually 24/7.
We do not know when the advisory will be lifted. As we receive information, we will update everyone. Thank you for your cooperation and patience!”
Major Tomson also mentioned the incident during a meeting and said, “We lost water. We were able to catch up but last night we lost ground again. So, they are pumping vigorously right now.” When a resident mentioned that her water still had a small amount of color to it Tomson said, “It should because we are able to check the permeability. The monitoring system all got fired. We are going to have to do it manually. What I am hoping is, even if we have to send samples to Elkins every day, that we can come off the boil water soon. Cause right now all I can say is it is indefinite.”
When asked when the electronics may be fixed, Tomson said, “We cannot even get the people to come look at it until next week. Everybody is on holiday and are traveling. The main guy is overseas and sick in the hospital.
It has been a challenge. Some of the stuff we have run into and that we ordered in the past like pumps and actuators, there has been a six-to-nine-month lead time. We are going to be running manually I think for a long time.
So, that is all I can say as of right now. We have a lot of “I do not know”. We filled an insurance claim yesterday and the insurance company has started talking to us. I expect it is going to be a quarter of a million dollars’ worth of damage.”
Tomson also reported that Blackwater Falls had to shut down because of the water. According to Doug Martin there was a busted water line under their pump station.
The City of Parsons experienced their own set of issues due to the freezing weather. According to City Administrator Agnes “Aggie” Arnold staff responded to 20 requests for service from Dec. 23 to Dec. 28. These services were for a combination of frozen water lines, busted water meters, and busted hot water heaters.
Arnold explained in an email and said, “On Christmas Eve, staff responded to the water treatment plant when they were notified that there was no power. Upon arrival, staff discovered the issue was the backup generator. They later found out that the part that needed replaced on the generator was discontinued. There was no power at the water treatment plant for approximately 26 hours. Staff stayed in constant contact with Mon Power until power was restored mid-afternoon on Christmas Day.
Staff is currently seeking quotes on new generators for the water treatment plant and raw water station. The manufacturer of these generators is out of business and parts are not available. The City has a generator at the maintenance facility that is being converted to serve as a backup until the new generators can be secured.”
Hamrick PSD also had a main water line breakage, but, were able to transfer to a different tank and still provide water to the residents. According to Jason Lipscomb who works for Hamrick PSD there were an estimated 20 residents with frozen pipes in their homes.
10 Tips to Protect Your Home from Freezing Temperatures:
- Disconnect your garden hose from you water spigot. Any water trapped inside the spigot will freeze and expand breaking the plumbing fixture or line. It typically will split further back from the shut off valve and will leak when you turn your spigot back on in the spring.
- “Drip” your faucets. In extreme cold, you will want to turn on your faucets (both hot and cold) enough to make a very small stream of water (not just a drip). As an extra precaution, you can open cabinet doors under the sinks to allow warm air to flow.
- Close your crawl space vents when the weather starts to cool off. This will stop any cold air flow from entering into your crawl space where most of your plumbing lines are located.
- Evaluate your crawlspace for exposed plumbing lines near foundation vents. If a plumbing line is close enough to a vent it is wise to put insulation behind that vent to prevent the cold temperature from reaching the pipe.
- Make sure your furnace is working properly. Your house temperatures will drop quickly if your furnace isn’t working, increasing your risk of frozen pipes. Most heating companies are extremely busy in the winter and will not be able to respond immediately to a broken furnace. If your furnace is working correctly then you can feel safe leaving your home during the day.
- Don’t leave your garage door up. Many of us are used to keeping our garage door open, however, this is where your hot water heater, well pump, and other plumbing and heating appliances are located. An open door is an invitation for cold air to enter and freeze these more quickly.
- Evaluate the outside of your home to check for cold weather weakness areas. Make sure gutters are clean and pointed away from the foundation. If you have the chance to walk around your home while snow is melting or it’s raining, make sure the water is draining away from your home. Grading your landscaping away from the foundation will also help water drain correctly.
- Insulate your home in drafty areas. Add insulation to your attic and crawlspace, but make sure that any plumbing lines are between the home and the insulation. Too often we see people who have put insulation between their home and the plumbing line which prevents the house’s heat from keeping the plumbing lines from freezing. Use pipe wrap insulation for exposed pipes for additional coverage.
- Evaluate your doors and windows for heat loss. Weather stripping for a door or an additional window insulator kit will prevent drafts into your home. These are easy to use, and available at your local hardware store. As a quick alternative, you can also use a rolled-up towel to prevent drafts.
- Call an expert to receive a full evaluation so all of the components and functions of your home can be winter ready.