Preventing and Thawing Frozen Pipes from ND Rural Water

1. Determine the location of the frozen pipe. This can be done by touching or by running your hand along
accessible water pipes in the home while feeling for extremely cold spots. If a cold portion of pipe is
encountered; thaw it gently, preferably using a hair dryer. DO NOT use a propane torch, as it could
cause a rupture of the water line.
2. If you suspect the water line is about to freeze, check the temperature of the water. Do this at the
location of where the water enters the home. If the temperature is close to freezing, run a substantial
amount of water until the temperature increases. This could take some time. Showering and washing
extra loads of laundry will put the extra water to good use.
3. If you choose to leave the water in the home trickling, be careful! Leaving the water running at a
trickle can help prevent frozen water service lines. However, trickling water can sometimes lead to
frozen sewer service lines. In the past, water and sewer lines were installed in close proximity of each
other and often at the same depth. Trickling water in a sewer line can cool to the point of freezing if
the sewer line is cold. This could lead to the sewer service freezing shut and causing a sewer backup.
4. If you chose to run the water at a trickle, it is advised to periodically turn the flow of water up to about
a garden hose size stream for several minutes. The increased flow of water allows for a better
exchange of heat between the water and water service line/ground and also allows the water to assist
in heating the sewer system.
5. If the consumer having a freezing water issue is on a septic system, trickling water should be diverted
away from the septic system. Septic systems have a limited capability to accept excess water in deep
frost conditions. The trickling water could compromise the on-site septic system, leaving the customer
with more problems and expense. If possible, use a hose to run the trickling water to an outside,
acceptable area.
6. Electrically heating of water lines, using a welder, only works on metallic lines. It will not work if there
is any plastic or pvc piping in the service line. Care should be taken, if using a welder, as they have
been known to start fires in adjacent structures. It has also been found that the use of welders can
increase the speed at which cast iron or ductile iron lines corrode.
7. If the water service line does become frozen advise the customer to open one or two faucets. This will
allow the ice to have room to expand without damaging any other piping.
8. There are companies throughout the state that have the ability to thaw frozen services with a recirculating
thawing unit. If there is no one that offers this service in your area and you would like
assistance, please contact us at 1-800-349-6951. We will guide you through the processes of
constructing a thawing unit and its operation.

Emergency Planning

An excellent tabletop exercise involving Langdon Area Schools, Law Enforcement, Dispatch, Fire, EMS, Public Health and the hospital took place recently.

No pictures were taken, but there were over 50 caring people in attendance at the exercise, working to make schools safer for our youth and staff.

Tabletop exercises are discussion based scenarios, that involve going through plans that are developed, coordinating with others plans and enhancing everyone’s, with additional planning for the gaps or shortfalls that were identified during the exercise. It is a time to share ideas, best practices, and also to get to know everyone’s capabilities.

Thank you to all who were a part of this. Have fun enhancing your plans!

Here is a link to some great resources

Surviving Winter in North Dakota



With winter well and truly upon us,  here are some more ideas for what to do in  a blizzard;

If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace have at it, what a luxury when the power is out! To stay warm otherwise, we use a stove hooked up to the propane outside, and close off the room by hanging blankets. An air mattress just may be your best friend in this situation. Keep children entertained by reading, or telling stories about family history. I learned all about how my grandfather came to the United States,  in a power outage. Don’t forget the shadow games, they are always good for some entertainment. So, stock the batteries, figure out the alternate heat source, along with what you can eat and drink, and enjoy the winter!


Winter in North Dakota can be a wonderful but terrifying thing. If you are in somewhere warm and safe, this can be handled without not too many problems.

If however, you find yourself stuck out on the road due to a blizzard, or in a ditch due to sliding off icy roads, it is terrifying!

When you are traveling in the winter have a kit in your car with you, make sure it contains warm clothes, blankets, snacks, and flags to tie as high as you can on your vehicle.

Winter weather in your home if there is a power outage can be a challenge too. Make sure you are prepared for it. If you have young family members find ways to make it fun! Build a fort in the room that you have heated, read a book out loud, do round table story telling.

Some things you can do to prepare now are to  purchase a battery powered radio, flashlights, alternate heat source, batteries for all, extra water for all members of your family, food that you can easily cook on your heat source.

For other items that you will need, check



It’s important to know how cold weather can affect your heart, especially if you have cardiovascular disease.

Many people don’t realize how much they exert themselves when they are not conditioned for it simply by walking through snow. Even those that are accustomed to being outdoors in winter can accidentally suffer hypothermia if certain precautions are not taken.

Hypothermia means the body temperature has fallen below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. It occurs when your body can’t produce enough energy to keep the internal body temperature warm enough. It can kill you. Heart failure causes most deaths in hypothermia. Symptoms include lack of coordination, mental confusion, slowed reactions, shivering and sleepiness.

Children, our elderly and those with heart disease are at higher risk. As we age we seem to become almost immune to feeling moderately cold conditions, we can suffer hypothermia without realizing the danger.

People with heart disease often suffer chest pain or discomfort when they’re in cold weather. Some studies suggest that harsh winter weather may increase a person’s risk of heart attack due to overexertion.

It’s not just cold temperatures, high winds, snow and dampness can also cause the body to lose warmth. Wind is especially dangerous, because it removes the layer of heated air from around your body. Similarly, dampness causes the body to lose heat faster than it would at the same temperature in drier conditions.

To keep warm, wear layers of clothing. This traps air between layers, forming a protective insulation. Also, cover your head. Heat is lost through your head, ears are especially prone to frostbite. Keep your hands and feet warm, too, as they  lose heat quickly.

Don’t drink alcoholic beverages before going outdoors or when outside. Alcohol gives an initial feeling of warmth, because blood vessels in the skin expand. Heat is then drawn away from the body’s vital organs.


Ahhhh, Sorry Computer Got Confused!

Posting things online can be a bit haphazard at times. This morning when posting the weather forecast the old graphics displayed. 3-5 inches of snow, yelp! No, we’re in for up to one inch…

That being stated, It would be great if everyone would put a Winter Survival Kit in all of their vehicles. I know my children, young adults that they are, still have a bit of the it won’t happen to me syndrome. Last year I gave them the necessary essentials for Christmas.. If you need to know some good recommendations on what to put in yours or your loved ones, click the link in the right column or go to for more information. Also, for road reports go to


November 4-8 is Winter Weather Awareness Week

If you are into being prepared like I am, on this site you will find handy items that you need to know, have, or do, to survive a winter in North Dakota. I love ND, but winters are truly harsh sometimes.

And from Wikipedia here is information on Carbon Monoxide detectors.

I hope the snow doesn’t fly for awhile, but you never know. So be prepared to handle it!


Winter Weather Home and Away

An emergency supply kit should include a three-day supply of food and water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio and extra flashlights and batteries. Thoroughly check and update your family’s emergency supply kit and add the following supplies in preparation for winter weather:

  • Rock salt to melt ice on walkways;
  • Sand to improve traction;
  • Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment;
  • And adequate clothing and blankets to help keep you warm.
  • Ensure your family preparedness plan and contacts are up to date and exercise your plan. Learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by your state and local government, and ensure your home and car are prepared for the winter weather.

Finally, everyone should get familiar with the terms that are used to identify a winter storm hazard and discuss with your family what to do if a winter storm watch or warning is issued. Terms used to describe a winter storm hazard include the following:

  • Freezing Rain creates a coating of ice on roads and walkways.
  • Sleet is rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes roads to freeze and become slippery.
  • Winter Weather Advisory means cold, ice and snow are expected.
  • Winter Storm Watch means severe weather such as heavy snow or ice is possible in the next day or two.
  • Winter Storm Warning means severe winter conditions have begun or will begin very soon.

Links to Winter Preparedness

The Ready site link above has so much great winter preparedness information. It is proven that those that have a plan have a much better chance of surviving severe winter weather. So go ahead, click the link, make a plan. Have a Happy 2014!!

winter driving


This morning at the regularly scheduled meeting, the Cavalier County Commission enacted unanimously, a burn ban for the entire county. This burn ban is linked to the North Dakota Rangeland Fire Danger Index when it is in the High, Very High, or Extreme categories and/or there is a Red Flag Warning. No burning, to include a ban on campfires and garbage burning is allowed in the county when the fire index falls within these categories.

Information on the Fire Danger Index will be on local radio each morning and is also available at: or and click Fire Weather in the left column.

If you do not have internet access you may call Cavalier County Dispatch at 701-256-2555 for the daily Fire Index information.

The penalty for violation of this burn ban is a class B Misdemeanor (NDCC 37-17.1-10.1: Maximum sentence of 30 days in jail and a $1000.00 fine).

Please, be wise, use good judgement, our firefighters are volunteers, attend your fires.

For a controlled burn at any time; call Cavalier County Dispatch to report when you begin burning, stay and watch your fire, you are responsible for it. Use caution and have items on hand to control it. If a fire gets out of control, call 911 immediately. Call dispatch again when the fire is out.

According to the County Declaration: You can not burn when the fire index is in the High, Very High or Extreme categories, or if the National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning, you can access the fire index here.

A RED FLAG Warning means the the firefighters are to be on the alert, do not burn during a red flag warning.

Read the guide available at the link below for more information.

Maintain your kit once it’s built!

It’s important to maintain your kit once you put it together! Here’s the link