Straight from the Tap

How We Prepare for Winter Weather

11/04/2021

While never convenient, harsh winter weather is a reality for us in Northeast Ohio. But at Cleveland Water, we do everything we can to minimize the impact it may have on your drinking water.

While we never know the exact challenges the year’s winter weather will bring, we prepare every fall for the inevitable snow, ice, and low temperatures that bring a seasonal increase in main breaks.

Preparation includes making sure our equipment is ready to go, the necessary supplies are stocked, and, most importantly, our repair crews are properly trained and equipped to work in all types of weather.

Repair crews can sometimes work 12-16 hours in cold, wet conditions when repairing water main breaks and leaks. These employees are provided with heavy-duty rubberized gloves, rubberized boot spikes, and helmet liners to ensure they are warm and safe. Each field employee also receives a clothing allowance to purchase personal protective winter gear. They also receive training on preventing weather-related injury, dressing appropriately, and recognizing the signs of frostbite and exposure.

Vehicles and equipment are inspected to ensure they are in good working order and stocked appropriately for the season.

Cleveland Water maintains our own snowplows, salt trucks, and snow blowers. These vehicles and the crews that operate them clear snow and ice from our treatment plants, pump stations, maintenance buildings, and office locations to keep everything operating smoothly. They’re also available to assist the City of Cleveland in clearing roadways if necessary.

We also make sure we have the necessary supplies stocked at various locations so crews can access material and equipment in a timely manner. Parts and equipment needed to repair water mains, valves, connections, hydrants, and other parts of our water distribution system are kept are our central warehouse and each maintenance location. Calcium chloride is stocked in our warehouse and other facilities. Road salt is stockpiled and delivered throughout the winter to designated locations.

Repair trucks also carry calcium chloride. Water main breaks can cause icy conditions as temperatures drop, so crews keep salt on hand to keep sidewalks and roads in the work area safe. We also coordinate with local public works departments to ensure these locations are adequately salted until repairs are complete.

While we work hard to keep worksites as safe as possible, please remember to be careful when driving by a main break or worksite location. Icy conditions make these areas especially hazardous for both drivers and our work crews.

Each winter brings a different challenge as exact weather events can never be anticipated even with forecasting projections. But by taking these steps every winter we can ensure that our customers receive a safe and reliable supply of drinking water regardless of the weather.