Hazleton Council Approves Project to Fix Frozen Water Main

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

HAZLETON, Iowa - A handful of people living in the town of Hazleton have been without running water for a couple of weeks.

The public works director said the frost has gone so deep into the ground that it has actually frozen a city water main.

"Very frustrating," said Jess Bernachi. "These are my jugs to boil my water in, so I can do dishes."

Bernachi said on a scale of one to ten her frustration level is a 14.

"Oh it's on – there is nothing," she said as she turned on her faucet.

She's living without water and showering at a friend's house.

"I've got 45 one-gallon jugs that we are going to take to city hall tomorrow (Friday) and fill them all back up to get us through another week," Bernachi said.

Her Neighbor Robert Kelley is struggling too.

"It will be two weeks this Friday. At 7:00, I run some water out of the kitchen for a drink and then at 9:00 I went out to get another drink -- or some water -- and didn't have any at all," Kelley said.

He and his wife are depending on their grandson who's constantly bringing in buckets of water from his home in Oelwein.

Thursday night, they also depended on the city council for help.

In the same room where residents have access to a sink for filling up their water jugs, the council held a special meeting. They approved a $4,000 project to de-ice the frozen water main.

"They are going to use a jetter out of a 500-gallon holding tank and jet the water up the main until they free the block," said Public Works Director Mike Loomis.

This will be the second attempt to get water flowing again. Residents hope this effort will work.

"Otherwise we've got to wait 'til spring [when] it thaws out and you know how far away that is," Kelley said.

The public works director said the work on the water main will begin as soon as possible. City leaders will use money in the water fund to pay for it.

The residents will have to pay for someone to fix their service lines that run from the main to their home. Those are also frozen since water hasn't been flowing. The city said people will likely be able to get a refund for some of that money from the city's utility board if they bring their receipt.
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