Cold Leaves Many Without Water For Weeks

Created: 02/24/2014 10:51 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- It seems like all winter there’s been an endless number of pipes freezing and water mains breaking due to the cold.

And while cities and towns try to move quickly to make repairs, the ground is so frozen that it's made things difficult, leaving some without water for weeks.

"This is pioneer stuff here almost, said Greg Grimley, who lives in Brownsdale, Minnesota, where he and several of his neighbors have been without water for about two weeks.

Grimley said he's been relying on family for his water supply, cooking less, and using paper plates and plastic silverware to cut down on dishes.

"You don't think about it when you get up every morning and you jump in the shower,” Grimley said. “You don't think about brushing your teeth or any of that stuff, or washing dishes. Now you have to think about it.”

But the problem is even more widespread in Austin where officials said this has been the worst they've ever seen, with nearly 90 people currently without water.

"It's ‘Little House on the Prairie’ for sure,” said Nicole Trostem, of Austin. “The first day we lost water, I went outside and actually boiled snow just to be able to have some water in the house."

Trostem lives in the southwest part of town where officials said the sandier soil has driven the frost deeper, causing more pipes to freeze.

With a baby on the way, Trostem said the past two weeks have been difficult.

"It's emotionally and physically draining,” Trostem said. “I know there's a lot worse things that could happen in life, but it is pretty tough without a utility in your life.”

In both Austin and Brownsdale, officials said they may have to wait until the spring thaw before they can get water service restored, meaning some may have to wait months before the tap starts running again.

Until then, those affected said they'll just have to work with what they have.

"It's not earth shattering, it's not wrecking people's houses, it's not a tornado blowing us away, so we can put up with this,” Grimley said. “This is an easy one."

ABC 6 has also learned that at least one home in Austin has been without water for about a month. 

To help out, the fire station is offering free water for people who need it. They ask you bring your own reasonable sized container and show up between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.

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