After two days of bad weather, I arrived home to frozen pipes. Part of it was due to the fact I'd been for two weeks and the other had to do with the way the system had been constructed.
The running water flows through a double pipe system filled glycol between the two pipes designed to keep the water from freezing.
Unfortunately, over the years, they system has spring leaks which have not necessarily been fixed properly. In addition, the pipes lie on top of the ground because if the pipes were buried under ground, it would be too hard to dig the ground up around them due to the frozen ground.
Originally, the village got several feet of snow each year which provided a natural insulation around the pipes. The water never got cold enough to freeze and generally worked well but over the past few years the amount of snow had decreased significantly and this year, there is not enough snow to properly insulate the pipes.
They got my plumbing working by around Tuesday of this past week but by Saturday night, it was down again. My toilet flushed but no water flowed in to replace the liquid which was sucked out by the suction system. I replace the water so I didn't burn the suction system out but by the time I got ready for bed, the tub was not draining properly.
Come Sunday morning, I had several inches of standing water in my tub and my toilet wasn't even working. I called maintenance to report the situation only to find out the whole east side of town had no running water due to everything being frozen. I was told I'd be put on the list but they'd eventually get around to fixing it eventually.
I also heard the pipes in the boys locker room at school were frozen today so if they don't thaw and if the city doesn't get all the plumbing working properly we might have an abbreviated day. The school has some sort of holding tanks for the toilets so when the city water goes down, we can still hold school for a few hours until they are full.
In the meantime, I couldn't clean house the way I wanted due to a lack of water but it got working in my kitchen sink so I washed hair there. I can't take a shower, so it'll be what my mother calls a "spit bath" and hopefully, everything will be up and running.
That is one of the things about living out in the bush of Alaska. Even when you have running water, it is still controlled by the weather. Its been so cold here, you could feel the cold work its way through your outer coat to your bones. I don't know the temperatures, but it has been extremely cold. Cold enough to freeze half the pipes in town.
I'm hoping by the time you read this, I'll have everything up and running so I can do the laundry I couldn't do over the weekend. I hope you've had a better weekend then I did. Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.