On Monday, Feb. 15, the Village of Winter President Julie Ray, was informing residents that the main water tower in the village was being refilled and residents were being encouraged to use water as they normally would, allowing some water to trickle to keep pipes from freezing.
Normally, a village president nor the residents would be concerned about the status of the water tower, but after the previous week free-flowing water was on everyone’s mind in the village.
On Friday, Feb. 5, the immersion pump in the main village well stopped working and at that point the village public works director Lance Armstrong turned to a back up well and the water continued flowing.
Over the weekend, Feb. 6.7, with school out of session, there wasn’t a huge demand on the village’s system, but by Tuesday, Feb. 9 with the temperatures dropping and school back in session the pressure on the second well was lost and there was not enough water to supply the village.
“We lost our water,” said Ray. “We just all of a sudden had no water and any water that was in the water tower fell out because it was being used, so we basically drained our water tower.”
Without water, school was called off for the following Wednesday and people were encouraged to store water.
A special crew of workers were called and traveled to the village with the goal of starting on Wednesday morning, but when they arrived Tuesday night, Feb. 9, they began tackling the problem.
“As soon as they got here at six o’clock they just got to work,” said Ray.
By 8:30 p.m., water was restored to the village
Starting the night of Feb. 9, a 24-hour effort began to refill the water tower but gauges indicated a problem and later a leak was discovered by the public library.
And then there was yet another issue.
“Part of our water tower froze when we lost all that water in it,” said Ray.
The village needed a water tower expert and it so happened that an expert was on vacation at his home on Connors Lake and was within minutes of the village.
“This expert has been working with other municipalities that have had similar issues,” said Ray.
Ray said the cold weather revealed infrastructure issues that needed to be addressed. The Village will be looking at federal block grants to address some of those more costlier problems.
In the meantime, residents are encouraged to keep their water trickling to keep pipes from freezing because the village pipes are not buried as deep as most municipalities.
Ray said the village would be adjusting water bills to accommodate trickling water and the recent disturbances to the system.