Water, water everywhere…. cold snap plays havoc with water pipes

So were you one of the lucky ones or did your power/heat go out or your pipes burst?

WALTON COUNTY, GA (Dec. 26, 2022) – Officials and utility crews in the local area joined others nationwide over the Christmas holiday weekend struggling to keep up with the number of calls coming in reporting pipe breakages and water spills. There were also many problems with heat and/or power going out during the coldest parts of the weekend.

Walton County Emergency Management opened a warming center at Felker Park to make sure that nobody froze in the sub zero wind chill temperatures, but it was the places of business, government facilities and homes that took a beating from the overuse of heating products and freezing of the water pipes.

The cities of Loganville, Monroe, and Social Circle put out notices early on urging people to conserve energy where they could due to the high demand on energy for heat. There were requests all over the state to do this in order to help Georgia’s electric grid sustainability. Power transmission suppliers requested that consumers conserve as much as possible to avoid short-term power outages. Heating and air technicians and plumbers were on high alert all weekend answering calls to help get heat back on and deal with water pipe breaks.

Officials with the cities of Social Circle and Monroe notified residents that they were aware of low natural gas pressure. This was a multi-state issue due to high usage for heating. Gas technicians worked to try to increase the pressure locally.

Cities also put out PSAs telling consumers how to protect their pipes in advance as temperatures were expected to drop into the single digits with wind chills going into the negatives. And drop they did. By Christmas morning and the day after, many people found themselves dealing first with no water as it had frozen in the pipes, and then much more water than they wanted because the pipes had burst and, as the temperature rose and allowed thawing, the water spilled out.

In Loganville, City officials notified residents that a busted pipe caused water damage inside the O’Kelly Memorial Library requiring cleaning crews to clean up the damage. The library will have to be closed for a few days to complete the repairs. In Monroe, a fire alarm at Publix triggered the sprinkler system spewing water all over the front of businesses in the Monroe Pavilion.

The City of Monroe Fire Chief Andrew Dykes said they ran more than 35 calls for different incidents on Christmas Eve and into Christmas Day and were expecting much the same the day after Christmas. He said Walton County Fire Rescue was also very busy running a variety of different calls. WCFR and the City of Loganville Firefighters battled two fires in freezing temperatures on Christmas Eve.

The City of Social Circle put out a notice advising that numerous numerous residential and industrial water line breaks had caused the water distribution system to drop to critical low levels and requested residents to conserve as much water as possible.

And in Atlanta, water main breaks shut down one of the Delta terminals at the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The following quick tips were shared in advance of the cold weather coming in. It is worth taking note on early preparations. It is a little late now as it expected to warm up into the 60s by New Years, but you never know what weather could come before Spring 2023.

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