Don’t Be Fooled By Warm Weather

OSWEGO, NY – City officials continue to advise residents to keep their water running a little.

You should keep the (cold) water running, about the diameter of a pencil, according to Oswego Fire Chief Jeff McCrobie.

February's temperatures were cold enough to freeze any water that wasn't moving. Many of the city's water mains have fallen victim to the cold.
February’s temperatures were cold enough to freeze any water that wasn’t moving. Many of the city’s water mains have fallen victim to the cold.

The slight added cost in water usage won’t be as much as you would have to pay for repairs if your pipes froze and burst, he added.

“We are still providing potable water for those without water service,” the chief said. “Residents can get some bottled water or bring their own containers and we’ll fill them up at the East Seneca Street entrance of the Eastside Fire Station.”

The local state of emergency imposed last week by Mayor Tom Gillen remains in effect until further notice.

“It will probably last another two or three days,” the mayor told Oswego County Today. “We’re slowly getting back to normal. But, we’re not there yet.”

“We can still freeze; the possibility is still there,” McCrobie said Wednesday. “Just because we have a day like this (with temperatures near 40 degrees) doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods.”

In some cases, pipes have thawed, but water was not left running, and refreezes have occurred, he cautioned.

According to Oswego DPW Commissioner Mike Smith, nearly three dozen properties have had their water services restored.

“We moving as quickly as possible. We’re having success in get services restore to many. But, there are still about eight to 10 that we’re dealing with right now. We’re very busy.”

Besides dealing with the rampant water problems across the city, the DPW is also removing snow from many of the more congested streets, the commissioner said.

The mayor cited the DPW’s efforts.

“They are doing a heck of a job. There were 40 to 45 (water service customers) impacted and they have restored service to close to 40, I think,” he said. “There’s around a half dozen left to repair.”

“I don’t remember a tough stretch of weather like this, with the snow and freezing cold, in a long time,” the mayor said. “The DPW is moving snow as fast as it can. They are doing the worst areas first and working out from there. The county has stepped up and is helping us out, as well.”

For the most part, residents are doing a good job keeping their sidewalks shoveled, he added.

Relief can’t come fast enough for many city residents and those that walk in Oswego.

“I can’t even drive down my street; cars are on one side and the other side isn’t even plowed. It looks like Baghdad on my street, its disgusting,” Jennifer Losurdo said. “If a fire truck or ambulance needed to get down there, it couldn’t. You can’t see over the snowbanks on any corner to see if another car is coming or not.”

The potholes are another story, she said, adding, “The first time I pop a tire or need a front end alignment, I’m sending the bill to the city, and I am a city employee. Bridge Street, 104 east and west, is a disgrace and an embarrassment.”

Another west side resident agreed.

“I realize DPW has its hands full with water breaks, but finally streets are getting wider and more clear,” he said. “However, Bridge Street at the forks-of-the-road deteriorates more every day. A major problem around west side is that corner snowbanks continue to be high and it’s pretty blind.”

Larry Rapshaw walks in the Port City to go to work.

“The sidewalk conditions, which are bad every year in spots, are really bad this year,” he said. “I walk a lot and drive little and I hardly ever have heat, so I am used to what winter doles out. I just walk over it.”

If his water freezes, he brings jugs of water in for drinking and cleaning.

“People with cars and kids feel the sting of winter more, I think, since they have to shovel constantly and scrape ice off windshields, etc. The more the winter months throw at me, the more I adjust my lifestyle to waltz with it!” he said.

With temperatures forecast to plunge back into the teens Thursday, McCrobie reiterated that it is “extremely important that residents continue to have their water running without interruption until further notice.”

If you are attempting to thaw your own pipes, never use a torch as it can cause a fire; a hair dryer is an acceptable method of thawing frozen water lines, the chief added.

For more information, call the Oswego Fire Department at 342-8773.