Racine families, businesses forced to live without running water

CREATED Feb. 4, 2014 - UPDATED: Feb. 4, 2014

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RACINE - You don’t realize how precious water is until you try to do laundry, take a shower or go to the bathroom.  Several families and businesses in Racine have been forced to live without water for several days.

“Saturday morning, came in to open up for the day and realized the trickles of water we had no longer would release and we had no water whatsoever,” said Sugar Shack owner, Natalie Gautsch.

City crews work on pipes in the basement of the Sugar Shack for a fourth day, trying to restore water, so the owner can re-open her business.

“Between Saturday and Sunday, probably turned away a good 30-40 people,” Gautsch said.

The Sugar Shack isn’t alone.  The head of the water utility tells me 25 Racine homes are getting water through a hose from their neighbor, and they have 5 more of those hook-ups to do Tuesday.

“It’s been tough.  We’ve had a lot of water main breaks, we’ve had frozen services, starting in earnest about a week ago.  We’ve had about 30 coming in a day,” said Keith Haas, General Manager of the Racine Water and Waste Water Utilities.

To put it into perspective, the city dealt with about 60 frozen pipes to homes and businesses in 2009.  They’ve had 175 already this season.

 “I can’t recall, and my staff can’t recall having winters this bad,” Haas.

“You don’t realize everything you do and how nice of a luxury it is to have water,” Haas.

It will take about 2 weeks of above freezing weather until we stop seeing frozen pipes.  The problem is the pipes are about 4 feet in the ground, and the frost level is now 4-5 feet deep.