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  • Cold Weather Effects on Municipal Water Supplies

    Municipal Wells

    Although it might not make sense, household water use actually goes up during winter. Think about it, more people spend their time indoors. So when you factor in high-water demands, cold weather challenges for a municipal water supply are magnified.

    Most obvious, harsh winters increase risks for elevated tanks, pipes and valves to fail — especially during night when water demand and turnover rate is low. Most temperature-related problems, however, can be prevented with appropriate planning, maintenance and inspections. For example, flowing water is less prone to freezing. Moving water in and out of elevated tanks and mixing systems can lower the risk of failure.

    Of particular nuisance for water utilities is frazil ice – a loose collection of slushy ice that forms on cold, clear nights when water temperatures are near freezing. Frazil ice forms at the surface and is notorious for blocking submerged raw water intakes – shutting down pumps. To avoid problems with freezing in the plant and distribution system, sealing external openings and insulating facility buildings, pump and disinfection booster stations can reduce heating loss and cold air penetrations.

    What the heck is frazil ice?

    For home owners, lateral lines leading from a utility-owned water main through the yard to a home are particularly susceptible to freezing under the roadway or sidewalk where there is no grass or snow to provide an insulating barrier between the cold air and buried pipe.

    Winterizing Tips For Water Utilities

    Residential Wells

    Cold has no apparent negative affect on the equipment nor well, in part, because the well and equipment are sealed on the outside. The well cap and casing serve as insulation in a closed system. Lateral pipes that carry water from your well to a distribution source should be below the frost line. In addition, even during the most severe winter or hottest summer, the ground water held by your well generally stays at approximately 55 degrees year round. Though water levels have been known to drop in winter due to atmospheric pressure – the consistent water temperature keeps most of the equipment in a constant state far from freezing.

    Does cold weather affect your well?

    Effect of temperature on ground-water levels

    Cold Weather & Submersible Dataloggers

    As the use of submersible data loggers increases, more and more questions about what to do during the winter months are raised.  Should I remove them from the environment? What happens if they freeze? Will they record accurately in the colder temperatures? Can I trust the data recorded at lower temperatures? These answers frequently are … Continue readingCold Weather & Dataloggers

    Water Well Design

    Brotcke Well & Pump Company, Inc., (BWP) is a full service design-construct, municipal and industrial water well and pump service contractor. For over 30 years, BWP has been providing water-related engineering and construction services to clients throughout the Midwest.


    BWP performs design-construct services ranging from complete hydrologic engineering investigations to locate new water supply aquifers to the selection of water well rehabilitation procedures. We have installed both alluvial and consolidated water wells from small capacity wells to installations over 3200 GPM. We specialize in alluvial gravel wall wells with outside diameters ranging from 20 to 60 inches. When required, double gravel wall wells have been recommended and installed to provide an effective filter for very fine sand formations. Dependent on the requirements, both direct rotary and reverse rotary drilling techniques are utilized.Well design is based on intended use, desired capacity and the aquifer’s hydrologic properties.


    One or more test borings are required to define the aquifer at the desired well location. Gradation tests of representative samples allow selection of well screen slot size and gravel pack. The right well screen coupled with the proper gravel pack results in a highly efficient, sand free well – our project goal.


    well construction

    Well screens and casing ranging from 8″ to 36″ are commonly used with bore hole diameters ranging from 24″ to 60″.

    BWP specializes in reverse circulation drilling – the preferred method in unconsolidated formations because it minimizes drilling fluid additives, assuring a high-efficiency well.


    • Hydro-geologic Design Services
    • Water Well Installation
    • Water Well Rehab
    • Pump Sales & Installation
    • Complete Pump Service and Repair
    • In-house Machine Shop Services
    • Geotechnical & Environmental Drilling
    • Direct Push Services