United Water urges residents to prepare for prolonged severe weather by readying a supply of extra drinking water, insulating water pipes and clearing snow away from fire hydrants.
United Water has taken steps to protect its system against the anticipated significant snow and severe cold.
"Our priority is to keep the water flowing, despite any conditions that may arise. We have been carefully monitoring the weather and taking necessary action to protect the integrity of our facilities and water supplies," said Michael Pointing, vice president and general manager, United Water New York Division. "Our emergency crews remain on standby 24 hours a day to respond to any situation that may occur."
Advance preparations include testing backup generators, ensuring water storage facilities are full and having an extra supply of water treatment chemicals available
Pointing recommended that customers follow personal emergency preparedness plans and store extra tap water for drinking in food-grade storage containers. The containers should be thoroughly washed with soap and water before being filled, tightly closed and clearly labeled “Drinking Water” with the storage date. Do not store containers in direct sunlight or near toxic substances such as gasoline or chemicals.
To prevent frozen pipes and water meters homeowners should insulate household piping to protect against cold drafts in unheated spaces. Even a small draft can cause freezing. Homeowners are responsible for all pipes inside the property lines as well as the water meter.
United Water also recommended that water meters in unheated cabinets, garages and basements can be wrapped in insulating materials or even newspapers as a temporary measure. Pipes exposed to severe temperatures can be wrapped with heating tape, which can be purchased at most hardware stores.
Partial water service in a home indicates there is a freeze somewhere in the pipe inside. No water service is the result of a frozen water meter or a frozen pipe leading from the water main in the street to the house. A meter or water pipe that feels extremely cold is most likely frozen.
Frozen blockages should be cleared as soon as possible to reduce the danger of pipes bursting and property damage. Thaw pipes and meters by applying hot air from a hair dryer, electric heater or by using a heating pad. Open a water valve slightly so that water will flow when the pipe or water meter has thawed.
Never use hot water or a blowtorch on a frozen pipe or water meter. The intense heat could cause a break and a blowtorch presents a serious safety hazard.
United Water reminds residents to clear the snow around fire hydrants. It can save firefighters valuable time if they can find the fire hydrant immediately.