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El Paso Water Utilities has been prepping for hard freeze; Utility urges customers to prepare their homes


El Paso Water Utilities has been working for months to prepare for the first hard freeze of the season. Now, with temperatures expected to drop this week, the utility is asking customers to prepare as well.

Here's what EPWU has done to better equip its facilities:

  • Damage sustained to water plants in the 2011 freeze has been repaired.
  • Engineers have developed insulated boxes that help keep key instrumentation from freezing.
  • Crews have installed new instrumentation at many water tanks citywide that allows for more effective control, even in severe cold.
  • EPWU has worked with El Paso Electric to re-prioritize critical facilities which cannot be without power.

Here's what you can do to better equip your home, according to the American Red Cross:

  • Insulate exposed pipes and faucets outside and around your home, including those in unheated areas like the basement, garage, attic or crawl space. Follow manufacturer instructions closely.
  • For rooms against outside walls, open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Remove harmful chemicals from the reach of children and pets.
  • In severe cold, let cold water drip from the faucets served by exposed pipes. Running a drip of water through the pipes helps prevent pipes from freezing because the temperature of the water is above freezing. To conserve water, this measure should only be done when temperatures severely drop for an extended period of time.

If pipes break inside your home, EPWU encourages you to immediately turn off your water at the meter to avoid further damage and avoid water waste. In February 2011, thousands of gallons of water were lost across the city when pipes on private property froze and broke. A step-by-step video explaining how to turn off you water at the meter is available at YouTube.com/EPWU.