Frozen pipes in Niles Charter Township

Niles, Mich. About a dozen Niles families are without water tonight as a result of frozen pipes deep underground.

The Niles Charter Township Dept. of Public Works says there's not much they can do to help and homeowners might have to wait weeks for the ground to thaw.

"This is first time in 25 years I've seen water freeze up the way it has," said Gary Schrader, Manager of the Niles Charter Township Dept. of Public Works. "Right now we don't have the resources to help them out, so it might be weeks before things have a chance to thaw out."

Shrader said the frost line is several feet deeper in the ground than Michiana tends to see in a typical winter.

In some cases the frost line has moved past the 4-and-a-half foot level where much of the Township's services are laid out, resulting in frozen pipes and no water for certain homes.

"Even if it warmed up tomorrow to 60 degrees," Schrader said, "It would probably take a week and a half, two weeks for the frost to leave the ground."

In the meantime, the Township is asking that residents keep their faucets at a drip or a small stream to keep from freezing.

"For at least two or three weeks, I'd say, leave it a drip," he said.

Niles joins several other towns in recent freeze warnings. Milford, Benton Harbor, Middlebury, Nappanee, Goshen, New Carlisle, Walkerton, Bremen and Rochester are also on that list.

Many towns are encouraging residents to contact their specific water utility to talk about having their sewer bill adjusted.

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