Warm weather does not mean service lateral freezing risk is over

Thursday, February 20, 2014 - 10:40am

Madison, WI – Updated March 17, 2014

Despite milder temperatures over the last week, the frost line below Madison remains around 6-feet deep. That means frozen service laterals (the pipe that runs from a home to a water main) can still be a problem.
So far, the utility has directed more than 600 people living in areas at high risk for freezing to continuously run their water until further notice. If the utility has directed you to run your water to prevent your service line from freezing, please do not turn it off, even if it’s warm outside. The utility will notify you when the frost line has receded to a safe depth, which could be sometime in April. Again, only customers directed by the utility to run their water will receive a billing credit for excess water used.
Madison Water Utility crews have thawed more than 300 frozen service laterals so far this year, the most since 1977. In a typical year, we thaw fewer than five.
Checking the temperature of your water:
If you are concerned about your service lateral freezing, you can run the water for a few moments then check its temperature by holding a thermometer in the stream. If the reading is less than 35 degrees, call Madison Water Utility at (608) 266-4651.
If you believe your lateral is frozen, call Madison Water Utility Dispatch at (608) 266-4661.

Photo: MWU employee checks temperature of water flowing through a hydrant


  • Frozen lateral concerns - contact Water Utility Dispatch(608) 266-4661
  • Media inquiries only - contact Amy Barrilleaux, Water Utility PIOOffice - (608) 266-9129, Cell - (608) 219-9666abarrilleaux@madisonwater.org

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