City Officials Urge Residents to Run Continuous Stream of Water to Prevent Frozen Pipes


The city of Lake Elmo Water Utility is advising residents – specifically in the Old Village area – to begin running a continuous stream of water from a faucet in your building until further notice.

That same advice is being echoed throughout the valley in Stillwater, Oak Park Heights and Bayport.

It is recommended this continuous stream of water be a minimum of ¼ inch in diameter – the size of a pencil, an advisory from the city of Lake Elmo reads. Running the water in this manner is a precautionary measure to prevent freezing of the water service lateral pipes.

If you have good water pressure, you should only have to periodically check you flow – if you have low flow or no flow – then you should run the continuous stream (problems have been in the Old Village/Downtown area to date). Doing laundry and running the dishwasher is helpful as well.

If you live in an open space subdivision that has a community septic service – please be mindful that if you do not have to run your water due to low flow and do so anyway- you could have an adverse impact on your community septic system.

“The extended and extreme cold weather has pushed frost depths to between 8 and 10 feet in paved areas where the snow has been removed,” the notice reads. “This is the depth of main water main pipes and is likely the cause of freeze ups.”

In Lake Elmo, customer’s water bills will be adjusted for the water run to prevent freeze ups using an historic average of a winter quarter usage. The Oak Park Heights City Council is also considering a break from water bills due to freezing pipes.

Lake Elmo water users should be aware of the following:

  • If your water service lateral freezes, you will be responsible for the cost of thawing the pipes;
  • If you notice the stream of water reducing in volume or pressure, or if you notice a discoloration of water (signs of freezing), run the water at full stream for five minutes to melt ice that may be forming in thelateral.
  • Please make sure to inform others in your household not to turn off the water.

If you have a lateral freeze up call the Lake Elmo Public Works Department at 651-747-3940. Contact the city of Lake Elmo Main number at 651-747-3900 to let the water utility clerical staff know that you are running your water (Provide your name and address to the attendants.)

The city of Oak Park Heights says these contractors are possibly available for assistance to frozen water service lines:

  • Miller Excavating            651-439-1637 
  • Roettgers Welding          651-439-3597
  • L & L Welding                 651-454-7629