City to issue $17,216 in credits to 277 customers for running water to keep pipes from freezing

Online Staff Report

The City of Rockford will issue $17,216 in credits to 277 water customers for running their water to keep pipes from freezing last winter.

Public Works Director Timothy Hanson said, “The credits will appear on water customers’ June bill.”

According to Hanson, a letter will be sent to those who applied for a credit prior to the June water bill explaining how the credit was calculated.

During the record-breaking cold of the 2014 winter, the city encouraged residents to run their water to keep pipes from freezing. The request came during the course of a prolonged cold spell that eventually froze more than 240 water service lines in the city.

Initially, telephone messages were sent to residents in the areas hardest hit, encouraging them to run their water to reduce the risk of frozen pipes. Later in the winter, as the cold continued and the frostline extended a record 5 feet below the surface, the water bill credit program was offered to customers city-wide.

The city has paid contractors more than $1.3 million to dig up, thaw and restore the 240 frozen water services.

Water Superintendent Tim Holdeman said: “Having customers run their water saved the city several thousands of dollars in repairs. It is difficult to say how many more frozen services we would have had, but we think it may have been hundreds.”

Holdeman said 367 of the 644 applications for water credits were denied because water metering records showed no significant increase in water usage between January and mid-April.

We have very detailed records of how much water is used by each of our customers, so it is relatively easy to tell if a customer’s water use was more than normal over the winter,” Holdeman said.

Hanson said that restoring the landscaping and replacing the sidewalk at the locations where water repairs were made last winter will be completed by June 15.

Posted June 2, 2014

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