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City of Tama- Waterlines, Storm Sewers, and Potholes, oh my

February 28, 2014
By John Lloyd - Tama Public Works Director , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

I think everyone is officially sick of winter. It is pretty easy to tell by the number of complaints that are called in. So I thought it might be time to review a few things.

1. Clean off your sidewalks of snow and ice. The biggest complaint received was during the heat wave last week was that this person did not have their sidewalk cleaned. It has been difficult with the number of snows to keep them clean and most folks have been. So this is the reminder to those that have not been.

2. Water main breaks. This winter season we have had 5 breaks since January 1. Not too bad considering 3 were in one week.

Article Photos

John Lloyd

3. Frost in the ground. When digging to repair main breaks, we are encountering frost 30-36 inches under the street. There have been reports that it is 55 inches deep in areas of Tama County. This brings up service lines. We have a handful of frozen service lines in Tama. There is nothing the City can do in these cases, but refer you to a plumber. Prevention is the key. I am going to bet that when you get a glass of water from the tap it is cold. Is it colder than normal? If it seems that it is, take the temperature of the water. If it is around 35 degrees you don't have a whole lot of room before it freezes. The prevention is to let your water trickle through you faucet. It is a whole lot cheaper to run water through your faucet than to pay a plumber. Just a note, trickling water through your line will increase your utility bill, but it is still cheaper than a service call.

4.Storm Sewers. With warmer weather during the day and below freezing at night there will be thawing and refreezing. We do our best to keep the intakes cleaned out. But sometimes the drains don't drain the way we would like. Please be careful driving, most assuredly there will be slick spots.

5.Potholes. As of now, City staff will not fill potholes until we are well out of the freeze thaw cycle. Here is the reason. If any water seeps into the pothole when it is filled and then freezes it will pop the patching compound out of the hole or cause it to be loose. Once it is loose it will grind into smaller pieces every time it is driven over and eventually come out of the hole. Essentially putting patching compound in too early is a waste of money. It is a waste of purchasing the compound, and a waste of the labor to put it in.

This is Iowa and it has been a different winter. I know we have a few more weeks before spring really sets in but there are signs that indicate it is on its way.



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