Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

 
 

By CVN Staff 

Deep freeze: Frost line still down

 

April 14, 2011



A deep frost continues to hamper utility services around town.

At least 18 water lines are frozen around town, Haines Borough water and sewer operator Scott Bradford said this week.

A majority of those are against the Mount Ripinsky hillside, where rocky, exposed soil is more susceptible to cold.

Borough crews have been able to flush major culverts with a high-pressure jet, but others remain frozen and one on Beach Road separated, causing a sinkhole that was marked this week.

The fire department is still assuming hydrants are frozen and will continue dispatching a tanker truck to fires. They froze a month or more ago. Borough officials blame a small amount of accumulated snowfall and a subsequent lack of natural insulation.

Teacher Jansy Hansen’s fifth-grade class has been tracking the deep freeze through a “frost tube,” a measuring device driven into the soil across from the Haines School.

A school chart tracking frost tube measurements, compared to last year, shows a precipitous drop in the freezing level.

About a week ago, the freezing depth rose a smidge, but this week dropped back, Hansen said. “It’s not thawing. The ground’s still frozen. That’s also what people are seeing around town. You can kick off the top (layer of soil) but it’s still frozen underneath.”

Hansen also knows about the frost first-hand. Her family’s sewer line has frozen, a first in 12 years at their Allen Road home. They’ve resorted to a honey bucket.

“I feel like I should be in a far northern village teaching somewhere,” Hansen said.