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      How to protect your water lines from freezing

      An increasing number of homes across Upper Michigan are dealing with frozen pipes. The problem is the frost level. It's gotten too deep, some areas having it worse than others.

      No one knows that better than crews with the Department of Public Works in Marquette who have been working nonstop.

      Water crews with the city of Marquette are thawing frozen pipes. It's just one location out of 300 they have thawed throughout the last month.

      "Trying to actually basically warm the water with the electricity. It loosens it up. Sometimes it's very quick, sometimes it may take hours," said Lyle Michaels, City of Marquette water crew.

      Crews have been working seven days a week restoring water to homeowners. According to officials, crews are working at the frost level, which has reached six to seven feet deep.

      "We're trying to be a little bit more preventative. We're trying to keep the number of freeze ups down by placing more people on let-runs based on past history of freeze ups," said Scott Cambensy, Superintendent of Public Works for the city of Marquette.

      However, how can you tell your water line may be freezing? Look for a drop in flow, or in older homes, some discoloration of the water.

      Keeping good insulation is key in preventing your lines from freezing.

      "Try not to plow snow clear or shovel sidewalks; areas where water lines are underground. If you have exposed water lines in basements or crawl spaces that are located along the walls, you want to make sure that they're insulated," said Jerry Bennett, Swick Home Services.

      If you do notice a change in flow, keep the water running and contact your local water department.

      So, far the city of Marquette has 850 residences on let-runs.

      Officials stress if you are on a let-run order, keep the water running until they call you, even if it starts to get warm outside.

      They expect the order to continue until the end of April.

      As far as your bill is concerned, you will be charged for an average of last year's usage.