Missoula Water officials announced on Wednesday that unusual weather conditions have caused some local water service lines to freeze, which could lead to thousands of dollars in repairs for the homeowner.

Deputy Public Works Director for the City of Missoula Utilities, Dennis Bowman explains.

“The frost is getting deeper,” said Bowman. “The more it’s warming up, it’s pushing the frost in the ground deeper. We got a couple of reports this week that the frost locally in some areas is from five to six feet deep, which is the depth of the customer’s service line. We have five customers since the weekend whose service line has frozen.”

Bowman advised Missoula Water customers to be proactive.

“Just run your water for the next couple of weeks, and hopefully that will prevent anybody from freezing up their service lines,” he said. “Just a small steady stream about half the width of a pencil should be more than enough.”

Bowman said allowing a service line to freeze will be extremely expensive to repair.

“There’s not much you can do if your service line freezes,” he said. “Some contractors will dig this time of year and some won’t. When it’s an emergency, they will put down a heating blanket down on the street where the service line is and heat up the ground before they dig. If it’s a galvanized line, they’ll hook up a welder and create current through that galvanized line to heat it up and thaw it out.”

Bowman emphasized that it is the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain the service line between their home and the street.

“It could be very expensive,” he said. “I’ve heard reports of anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000. Helena put out a notice and so did Great Falls, so we’re being proactive in letting people know how to prevent the line from freezing.”

For more information, contact Missoula Water at 552-6700.