POSTED: Friday, February 4, 2011 - 10:23am
UPDATED: Saturday, February 5, 2011 - 10:57pm
EL PASO - The cold temperatures that are plaguing El Paso Electric Company are now making life miserable for El Paso Water Utilities.
EPWU has been hit by the power company's rolling blackouts.
As a result, several main breaks occurred overnight and several reservoirs are dangerously low. This can result in loss of water or low water pressure citywide.
EPWU is urging you to conserve water today.
The freezing temperatures have also caused pipes to freeze, leading to water outages and leaks. If you are experiencing a water outage or low water pressure EPWU recommends you boil water before drinking it. A loss of water pressure can allow contaminants from the air and soil to enter into the pipes. This should be done until the electricity situation is resolved or until further notice.
EPWU crews have been working through the night and will continue to work around the clock repairing and monitoring the system.
EPWU is reminding everyone that frozen pipes on private property are not its responsibility.
As the temperature rises this afternoon, the lines should thaw out and service should be restored. But be advised as pipes thaw, they may begin to leak. If you need assistance you should call a licensed plumber. If a major leak is detected inside the home or on the service line from the meter to the home, shut off the water at the meter box.
Here are some tips to thaw out frozen pipes from the American Red Cross website:
• If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Locate the suspected frozen area of the water pipe. Likely places include pipes running against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
• Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt more ice in the pipe.
• Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water.
• Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.