Frozen pipes leave residents city wide without water - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Frozen pipes leave residents city wide without water

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Just how cold has Chicago's winter been?

Get this, so far we have had 16 days when the temperature has dropped below zero.

Last winter we only had three.

Also, it's been 22 days since the mercury hit 40 degrees.

All of which is causing a new headache.

There have been 400 calls this season for service to the Chicago Water Department as pipes deep underground are beginning to freeze, and residents are left without water.

Jerrold Sims is one of those residents.

"There's no water. Five days it's been like that. I'm lucky there's a drip," Sims said.

Jerrold Sims said life has been a challenge since the water stopped running in his east Woodlawn home on Friday.

"I scoop up snow like this. Level it off. And bring it on in the house and let it melt," Sims said.

Inside his kitchen, buckets of melting snow to pour into the toilet, and for his pets. Sims is drinking the bottled stuff.

However, he has plenty of company.

"Just tonight alone we have 50 crews out on the street," Chicago Water Commissioner, Tom Powers, said.

Chicago Water Commissioner Tom Powers says the brutal winter weather is causing water pipes to freeze deep underground all over the city.

"These crews are out investigating the complaints of no water. As of tonight we have about 400 complaints of no water in the system out of about a half million accounts," Powers said.

In many cases they're finding the lines from the water main to the building's basement several feet underground frozen solid.

Crews send an electrical current through the pipes from the home's basement to warm them up.

"People really need to take this warning. Please just let a little bit of water run through your system. It could prevent a lot more serious problems that you might have," Powers said.

"This is five days. It should not take five days," Sims said.

Sims says calls to 311 have yielded few answers.

But 20th Ward Alderman Willie Cochran, whose office has been trying to help Sims, says the city is doing all it can.

"Chicago has been working seven days a week, 24 hours a day trying to resolve this issue, which is a citywide issue right now," Alderman Cochran said.

"We would really appreciate that our customers are patient with us. It's a very trying time, and we appreciate everybody's patience," Powers said.

Most of the pipes that carry water to buildings in Chicago are buried about 60 inches underground.

However, because of this long and unrelentingly cold weather the frost line right now is about 56 inches deep, and also why hundreds of Chicagoans are finding themselves battling an indoor drought.

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