January 22, 2016 10:30 AM

With Winter Storm Jonas expected to arrive this weekend, the Suffolk County Water Authority would like to assure its customers that the Authority is prepared to keep water flowing throughout the storm and urge customers to keep fire hydrants free of ice and snow so firefighters can connect their equipment without delay.

In preparation for the storm, the Authority has lined up snow plows to keep pump stations clear so employees can access stations as needed. Additionally, emergency generators that would be used in the event of power outages are fully fueled and ready to be put into service and four-wheel drive vehicles are ready to transport employees to work stations.

"We have taken every proactive measure to keep water flowing to the homes and businesses that rely on us for an uninterrupted supply of water," said SCWA Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey W. Szabo.


Pictured is Suffolk County Water Authority Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey W. Szabo, right, discussing preparations for Winter Storm Jonas with SCWA Deputy Superintendent of Maintenance Chris Given outside SCWA headquarters in Oakdale on Thursday.





Below are guidelines for how to prepare for extremely cold temperatures and what to do if your pipes freeze:

Preparing for sub-freezing temperatures

  • Know where your main water shut-off valve is located so you can turn off water in an emergency. When you locate the valve, mark it with an identification tag.
  • Find uninsulated pipes or pipes that pass through unheated spaces or rooms, such as crawl spaces, basements or garages. Protect exposed pipes by wrapping them with heat tape, pre-molded foam rubber sleeves or fiberglass insulation, available at hardware stores.
  • If your meter is outside, make sure your meter lid is closed tightly and let any snow that falls cover it. Snow acts as insulation so don’t disturb it.
  • Eliminate sources of cold air near lines by fixing windows, insulating walls, closing crawl spaces and eliminating drafts.
  • Drain all outdoor garden hoses, roll them up and store them inside to prevent cracking. If you have an indoor valve for outside faucets, shut it off and drain water from pipes leading to the faucets.
  • Drain any hoses and air conditioner pipes and check for excess water pooled in equipment. If your home is heated by a hot-water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly. Close them when water appears.
  • Turn off and drain your irrigation system.
  • Add extra insulation to the attic to prevent warm air from creeping into your roof, causing ice damage to the roof and gutters.
  • Clean out gutters and downspouts to remove debris that can freeze and cause clogs during cold weather. 
  • For kitchen or other sinks up against cold, exterior walls, open cabinets to let warm air into your home that can then reach the pipes.
  • Allow a small trickle of water to run overnight to keep pipes from freezing. The cost of the extra water is typically lower than the cost of repairing a broken pipe.

If your pipes freeze

  • Shut off water immediately. Don’t attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is off.
  • Freezing can often cause unseen cracks in pipes or joints that will leak when thawed.
  • Apply heat to a frozen pipe by warming the air around it. Avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.
  • Once the pipes have thawed, slowly turn the water back on and check for cracks and leaks.

To report a storm-related emergency, SCWA customers should call Customer Service at (631) 698-9500.

The Suffolk County Water Authority is an independent public-benefit corporation operating under the authority of the Public Authorities Law of the State of New York.  Serving approximately 1.2 million Suffolk County residents, the Authority operates without taxing power on a not-for-profit basis.



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