Wild Weather Didn’t Stop East Lansing Public Works Employees

Tuesday, February 5, 2019, 12:11 pm
By: 
Jessy Gregg

Photo: DPW crews repair a broken water main in Glencairn during freezing weather in January 2018.

Update: This afternoon, the City sent out a press release warning of weather dangers expected overnight and tomorrow. Read it via this link.

Last week’s polar vortex meant cancelled school, shuttered City offices, and frequent Nixle alerts from the ELPD about ice- and snow-related accidents. It also meant long hours and brutal working conditions for East Lansing’s Department of Public Works (DPW) employees who toiled through the subzero temperatures to contain multiple watermain breaks, to keep the streets plowed and salted, and to keep garbage from piling up.

East Lansing resident Zachary Neal tweeted his thanks for the crew working on the watermain which broke near his Glencairn home on January 31: “Water main broke at our house yesterday. Huge thanks to @CityofEL Department of Public Works & @BWLComm for working into the night - in #PolarVortex19 #subzero temps - to fix it.”

Neal told ELi that the watermain broke around 3 p.m. and that crews were on site by 4 p.m., working in icy conditions until 11 p.m. to fix the pipe and put a temporary patch on the road.

“I was impressed and quite thankful,” Neal said.

DPW crews also worked overtime last week to keep up with ice and snow management, salting and plowing roads. Curbside garbage and recycling pick-up continued through the extreme weather, with the schedule pushed one day forward.

Department of Public Works Director Scott House told ELi via email that there were three watermain breaks in the City during the stretch of arctic weather last week.

“Last week was interesting,” he said, “and this week may get interesting as well.”

There is freezing rain forecast for tonight (Tuesday) and Wednesday morning, which could lead to more icy roads.

If you experience water backing-up into your basement, DPW suggests that you call to report it in case the back-up is related to a blockage in the city sewer system. Knowing where water is backing up can help diagnose larger sewer problems.

More information about reporting sewer back-ups can be found via the Department of Public Works website.

For information on traffic accidents and road closures related to severe weather, you can sign up to receive public safety alerts from the East Lansing Police Department as text messages or as email messages. Click here to learn more.