Frozen Pipes Plague Chicago Area

The city has had more than 4,000 calls for frozen pipes so far this year

It has been a challenging February for some Chicago area residents as cold temperatures continue to wreak havoc on city pipes.

An Englewood gas station and its neighbors have been without water for the past three weeks.

“We can't get no water,” said gas station owner Ahmed Awadh. “That means you can't do what? We can't use sinks, washrooms, cappuccino makers...”

And Awadh is not alone.

This winter's extreme temperatures are taking their toll on the pipes that connect homes and businesses to the city's water system.

“It's one of the worst winters we've had in years,” said Thomas Powers, commissioner for the Department of Water Management. “The frost is going down 5 feet and that's right where the water service comes in. And we are seeing a lot of frozen service.”

On South State Street, crews were using electricity to thaw a frozen pipe Thursday.

The freezing is also hard on city water mains. Crews worked on one near Old St. Pats Church Thursday near Adams and Des Plaines.

Last year, by Feb. 25, the city had received 939 calls for frozen pipes on city property. This year the number has quadrupled to more than 4,500, officials said.

Awadh says he hopes the city can get his water working again soon.

“We have been waiting,” he said. “I hope we get water.”

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