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Tue., Oct. 6
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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Ice wraps Burke water tower after broken heater causes overflow


BURKE — The village’s water tower is encased in giant icicles after a heater inside the structure failed this week, causing pipes to freeze and burst.

The emergency overflow valve also froze, letting water spill from the top of the 180,000-gallon tower. Frigid winds Tuesday night made the water freeze in place as it went down the sides. Now, residents are being told to boil their water because the state Department of Health determined in an inspection Thursday that chlorine levels are too low following the overflow. It is expected to take at least a few days to increase the levels.

Village officials still don’t know how long the water was running, as it wasn’t until a local business called Water Superintendent Tom Russell that anyone knew there was a problem.

“But I do have it all fixed,” Mr. Russell said of the overflow. He spent Wednesday tackling the problem and had to change his soaked clothes three times.

However, leaks inside the tower continue to flow and drip because an emergency shut-off valve outside the tower is encrusted in 18 inches of ice.

Mr. Russell took responsibility for not following up about the heater, which he previously had reported to the Board of Trustees as “making all that noise.”

He has contacted Malone village officials, who have promised to help Burke repair the leaks, or at least advise on future repairs, as soon as possible.

Burke village officials hope higher temperatures this weekend will melt the icicles and cause them to fall naturally, leaving no lasting damage to the tower.

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