Marquette County still struggling with frozen pipes, costs continue to climb

While temperatures have started to warm up across the Upper Peninsula and let-runs have been lifted, local governments are still facing issues with breaking water lines.

The Marquette County Board heard an update on the county’s emergency declaration that Governor Rick Snyder approved last month.

Frozen water lines and other issues have cost the U.P. over $11 million, and that amount is expected to rise even more as the frost continues to thaw.

“The progress of the governor’s declaration has been going really well,” Marquette County Emergency Management Coordinator Teresa Schwalbach said.  “We’ve been requesting resources and equipment from the state and they have been following up with it.  We’ve been getting a good response, we have somebody coming up from Lansing the end of this week to help with detecting the leaks in the pipes throughout the county.”

The emergency declaration is only good for 28 days.  Marquette County officials will most likely re-apply to get more funds at the end of this month.

“This isn’t over, and it’s going to go well into June before we figure out what’s going to happen,” Schwalbach said.  “Even once the thaw is done–the frost comes out of the ground and is done–there’s a lot of repairs that have to be done.  There’s mitigation grants out there that the cities in those jurisdictions can apply for, but that takes time.  So it’s going to be continuing for a while.”

Schwalbach also said the frozen water pipe issues have cost the county about $3.6 million, and over three million gallons of extra water have been pumped across Marquette County.