Did You
KNOW?

  • The cost of one bottle of water from a vending machine is equivalent to the cost of drinking 8 glasses of tap water every day for a year.
  • A gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds.
  • The Water Authority maintains almost 1500 miles of drinking water pipes. If you put them end-to-end, they would stretch from Roanoke to Colorado Springs, CO.
  • At one drip per second, a faucet can leak 3,000 gallons of water per year.
  • Water is the only substance naturally found on earth as a solid, liquid and gas.
  • Over 713 gallons of water go into the production of one cotton T-shirt.
  • The Authority’s Water Pollution Control Plant is regarded as one of the best bird-watching areas in the mid-Atlantic region.
  • The Water Authority maintains over 6,000 fire hydrants in our service area. Fire hydrants are connected to the public drinking water distribution lines, so water from a fire hydrant is drinking water.
  • There are over 23,000 manholes in our service area.
  • Carvins Cove Natural Reserve is the second largest municipal park in the United States.
  • The Authority’s Water Pollution Control Plant covers over 100 acres of land.
  • More people in the world have a mobile phone than have a toilet.
  • The Water Authority treats 19-million gallons of drinking water a day although we have the capacity to treat 56-million gallons per day.
  • The Authority’s Water Pollution Control Plant treats almost 37-million gallons of wastewater a day from all across the Roanoke Valley.
  • There are 51 drinking water storage tanks in our service area. They each hold between 500,000 – 2-million gallons of water.
  • Most of the treated drinking water used in a home is for toilet flushing.

water drops

Cold Weather Plumbing Tips

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broken pipe

Help Prevent Your Water Pipes from Freezing!

  • Let a small amount of water drip from your faucets to minimize the risk of the water freezing and the pipe bursting from the pressure of the expanding ice.  You can collect the water that is dripping and re-use it to water plants or fill humidifiers.
  • Seal all air leaks that may let an icy blast reach your pipes.

  • Water pipes located next to an outside wall are often subjected to sub-freezing temperatures. Any plumbing located in a garage or any other unheated building is susceptible to low temperatures. Any exposed pipes should be wrapped or insulated. There are other devices such as heat tape which can be used to keep pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the water meter box lid closed to prevent the meter from freezing. Report broken or missing lids by calling (540) 853-5700. 
  • Don't forget outside faucets. Turn off valves to outside faucets, drain any water remaining in the faucets and disconnect any hoses. If there are no valves to outside faucets, they may be protected by insulating them and then placing a plastic bag over them to protect the insulation.
  • Pipes in cabinets could be located against an outside wall . Even if these pipes have been insulated, leave the cabinet doors open to allow the heat in the room to help keep them from freezing.

  • If your house has a crawl space located under it, close all air vents located in the foundation wall. This will prevent the pipes in the crawl space from being exposed to the cold air.

  • If you plan an extended vacation during cold weather, call us at (540) 853-5700 to have the water turned off at the meter. Then you may drain your water pipes, turn off the water heater and other water using devices, to give your pipes extra protection from freezing.

If Your Water Pipes Freeze...

Even if all precautions are taken you still might find a frozen pipe in your house. Open the cold water faucet nearest the frozen pipe to relieve the pressure of expanding ice that may cause a pipe to burst.

If only one faucet has no water, there is usually an internal plumbing issue that is the homeowner's responsibility.

If there is no water at any of the faucets, that is an indicator that the Water Authority needs to investigate a frozen water meter or broken water line in the distribution system.

Call the Water Authority at (540) 853-5700 if you have no water at any of your faucets.

Thawing a Frozen Pipe...

Be careful! Gentle heat from a light bulb, hairdryer on warm setting or heat tape is good. If the pipe is already cracked from freezing, as the water thaws, it may begin to spray out risking danger of electrocution if it sprays the appliance you are using for thawing. Do not use a torch or other open flame.

Find Your Main Water Cut-off Valve...

Look for this now! Imagine the panic, if water was pouring through the house from a broken pipe.

Locate the main water cut-off valve, mark it, and make sure everyone in the house knows where it is. Most main water cut-off valves are located on the wall where the water enters the house or near the washing machine or water heater.