2018-04-07 / News

With Spring Underway, Frost Is Still 46 Inches Deep on Island


At right: Water plant operator Roy Bessell strains to turn on the water to an apartment above a Ryba’s Fudge Shop downtown Tuesday, April 3, as maintenance director Andrew McGreevy looks on under gently falling snow. Because frost causes the ground to heave, the curb stops can be difficult to turn on for the season. At right: Water plant operator Roy Bessell strains to turn on the water to an apartment above a Ryba’s Fudge Shop downtown Tuesday, April 3, as maintenance director Andrew McGreevy looks on under gently falling snow. Because frost causes the ground to heave, the curb stops can be difficult to turn on for the season. As seasonal employees return to the Island in anticipation of the coming tourist season, water services have to be turned on and water meters replaced for the summer. Frost levels sometimes make for challenging conditions, but slowly and surely the frost is coming out of the ground this spring. In late March, the frost was nearly 50 inches deep, but as of Monday, April 2, the frost was 46 inches deep.

Water plant manager Allen Burt, who keeps track of frost levels on the Island, said the spring thaw is imminent, but cold nighttime temperatures during a snap of winter weather in early April may push the frost line lower into the ground.

People should continue to run a stream of pencil-sized water at one of their faucets in their homes and businesses to prevent the pipes from freezing, Mr. Burt said. The Department of Public Works will announce when the water can be shut off.

The crew at the water plant are gearing up for their busy season, and water plant operators turning on water services at the curb are a common sight this time of year. When the ground heaves because of the frost, curb stops can be hard to turn. But a bucket of hot water to thaw them temporarily and some elbow grease often solves the issue, Mr. Burt said.

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