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Without water for a month

Sheffield Village Board hears from residents

Published: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 1:04 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 1:06 p.m. CDT

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SHEFFIELD — Sheffield citizens exercised their fundamental right to petition grievances at the Sheffield Village Board meeting Monday night as they sought a remedy to water supply problems.

At issue are frozen pipes that are preventing water from flowing to the homes of at least four Sheffield households. Members of the group petitioned village leaders to look into ways to free up the water pipes at the previous village board meeting. At that meeting, they were told there was little that could be done to alleviate the issue. The board told the residents that it would be difficult to determine whether the frozen lines were on village or private property. The village also lacks the proper equipment to dig through earth frozen to the depth of 4 feet. Additionally, the village said it was impractical to tear up streets to determine the freeze location.

Sheffield citizen Erik Olson told the board that following the meeting in February, he had his water line tested for the possible location of the water stoppage. His contractor determined the stoppage was at the village’s water main. Olson said tests were performed on two other residents’ waterlines, and the results showed the freeze was not between the curb stop and the residences.

During the meeting, other citizens explained that they have been without running water for a month. An 80-year-old resident has left town to due to the hardship. All of the citizens’ residences lie along Mill Road. Another resident said she has been sharing water through a water hose with a neighbor. She petitioned the village not to charge that resident for the extra water.

Olson proposed the village check all affected residences for the location of the frozen line, so water service could be restored. He offered to use a jackhammer and volunteer his services if needed to restore service. He said that once the location is determined, a steam process can be used to melt the ice in the frozen line.

All of the aggrieved residents believe the village showed a lack of concern when it said that nothing could be done to fix the situation other than a warming of the weather.

Village board member Brandon Behrens said since the residents had taken action to locate the source of the frozen line, it was time for the village to test its side of the line. Other members concurred with Behrens.

The village board decided to use the equipment it has on hand to determine the location of the frozen line. If the village determined it was unable to remedy the situation by itself, outside help would be called in to assist. Village Mayor Bill Rosenow said he would contact the village superintendent and his crew to start digging on Mill Road on Tuesday. The village will call for outside someone help if necessary.

According to a board member, the situation highlighted the need for the village to have an adequate communication system to inform citizens of ways the village can help. The board said it offered the use of community hall water, but the residents said they weren’t informed of whom to contact to open the facility.

In other news, village engineer Mike Richetta informed the board that Mill Road lift station water Pump No. 2 was experiencing problems. The pump won’t start. He said Pump No. 2 needs to be fixed, so Pump No. 1 doesn’t take the full brunt of the work. Richetta said it is always better to have two pumps running. He said the problem appears to be a faulty capacitor or an issue with the phase of the electricity supplying power to the pump. Fortunately the pump is under warranty.

The next board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 17.

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