RED CLIFF PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT, WINTER WEATHER TIPS FOR WATER AND SEWER USERS, AND FOR PRIVATE WELLS AND SEPTIC FIELDS.
With winter upon us, please take some time to prepare your home water and sewer connections to withstand the cold.
Make sure your incoming water lines are safe and protected, prevent electrical fires.
Heat Tape electrical outlet. Any outside, under home, kitchen/bath, or hot water closet installation electrical outlet within 3 ft of any water discharge, MUST! Have a ground fault interrupter (GFI Outlet). It is building code. They should be tested regularly using Test, Reset button on the outlet itself. If this fails, call a licensed Electrician to fix. Do not run an extension cord from a non-GFI Outlet to plug in for example a heat tape.
It is recommended you replace your Heat Tape every 3 years! Heat tape is in constant contact with water and electricity, heat and freezing, and in some cases, chewing animals. A home owner does not want to find out the hard way, in sub-zero temps and a flooded home that their heat tape has failed. Follow the manufacture’s installation instructions, avoid wrapping the tape upon itself. Get the correct product for the job. Some tapes can melt plastic water pipes. And again, follow manufacture’s instruction when using insulation.
The Water and Sewer Department cannot thaw a home’s frozen or burst pipes because insurance liability. It is the responsibility of the home owner to protect all pipes and meters in the house.
In some cases, you may have to use heat tape and insulation to protect your sewer lines. A long sewer run under an unheated mobile home for example can and will freeze solid. Make sure your skirting or crawl space is closed properly against cold drafts. Make sure your access point is clear of debris, snow, and operates correctly in case of emergency.
No public sewer user or private septic field owner should EVER! Flush wet wipes, paper towels, condoms, floss, cigarette butts, or any feminine hygiene product. They might say they are a flushable, but they are NOT flushable! They are made from synthetics (plastic)
It is estimated Red Cliff sewer users flush 2 tons of plastic garbage per year into the lake! It is flushed to lift station and ground up into micro-particles and from there makes into the lake and into the food chain
The garbage disposal in your sink is for residual food left on a plate, not to get clean your refrigerator out or to dump oil and grease. Put all garbage in the trash, not into the lake!
Septic tank maintenance.
It is recommended that you pull and clean screen between the solids chamber and the effluent chamber once a year. Every 2 years, you should have your solids chamber tank pumped and if you have a mound system, flush out your “squirt lines”. At that time check effluent pump and proper operations of on/off and alarm floats. If you have an “enhanced pre-treatment septic tank” (tanks with air pumps) the air pumps have additional needs every 6 months. Performing regular maintenance will extend the life of your mound or septic field.
Bayfield County, Septic Tank Permit, requires all septic tank owners to have a septic service contact and every 2 years an inspection of the tank on file with the county. Red Cliff soon will have a similar code to follow.
Privately owned wells.
It is recommended that a home owner test their well annually for Total Coliform Bactria, Arsenic, PH levels. If you have an older home, you may consider a Lead and Copper test. If you live near farmlands, Nitrate test.
Bayfield County has test kits and performs analysis for a fee.
Make sure the ground around your well slopes away from the pipe so that potential contaminants will flow away from your drinking water source.
Red Cliff Water & Sewer Department does NOT have a winter moratorium on water shut offs.
It is mandatory that all customers continue to regularly pay their bills on time. Avoid late fees, reconnection fees, or larger bill in the spring time.
If water is shut off there is a potential to damage boilers and hot water heaters. It is not the responsibility of the Water and Sewer Department to fix or repair any damages caused by shut offs due to non-payment of bills.
Mark locations of Hydrants, curb stops, wells, sewer clean outs, and septic tanks clearly with posts, flags or other markers.
Avoid snow plowing or parking near these areas to prevent possible damage or to quickly locate during an emergency.