Shelter open for Oswego residents impacted by frozen water lines

OSWEGO – The severe cold impacting the region in recent weeks has impacted the City of Oswego’s infrastructure, causing several neighborhoods to be without water due to frozen water lines.

Mayor Thomas W. Gillen said the below zero temperatures have caused water lines in several neighborhoods to freeze, leaving residents without water. “It’s possible people will be without utilities, specifically water, for an extended period of time, potentially for several days,” the mayor said. “This could impact some people’s heating systems as well.”

The city is working with the American Red Cross of Central New York to open a shelter for impacted residents at Laker Hall on the SUNY Oswego campus. The shelter is expected to open at 10 p.m. today (Feb. 25).

Mayor Gillen said the city’s Department of Public Works crews are working diligently on the frozen water lines to get them running as soon as possible, and all city departments are working toward keeping people safe. “We know of 25 instances of frozen water lines in the city right now,” he said, noting there could be more as the cold continues.

Mayor Gillen declared a local state of emergency in the city according to New York State Executive Law Article 2-B in order to address the situation as expeditiously as possible.

“The utilities being impacted could affect a large number of people in a neighborhood,” the mayor said. “Please check on your neighbors, especially the elderly or disabled, to make sure they’re all right.”

Mayor Gillen also provided the following suggestions for city residents to keep their own water pipes from freezing:

– Keep garage doors closed, if there are water supply lines in the garage.

– Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals and store them out of the reach of small children.

– When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.

– Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower night-time temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.

– If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

Mayor Gillen reminded city residents that for emergencies, they should call 911. For other assistance, city residents may call (315) 343-1212.