During this week's deep freeze across Alabama, many residents were concerned their water pipes could freeze, so they kept their faucets dripping. However, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) said the demand is straining utility companies.

"Due to excessive water demand experienced by many public water systems across the state, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management is requesting that residents and businesses discontinue dripping faucets once temperatures are above freezing," the ADEM said in a statement. "Water utilities across the state are struggling to keep up with increased consumer demand, exacerbated by leaks from frozen pipes as they thaw."

Some water systems impacted are issuing boil water notices, including the Randolph Water System in Bibb County and South Marengo Water. In Fayette County, there is a boil notice for people in Boley and Oakman.

Lily Jackson, communications coordinator with Riviera Utilities in Baldwin County, said south Alabama hasn't had as many problems with the cold snap as other areas. However, cautious customers kept their faucets dripping when temperatures went below freezing.

"We did notice levels in the tanks did dip down but we expect this because we want people to drip their faucets when there are freezing temperatures," said Jackson. "But now that we are above freezing, we want people to turn off their pipes because it helps us maintain the levels in our tanks. If you are in an area of the state that is not experiencing those freezing temperatures, we definitely recommend turning off the faucets so we can maintain the levels."

As another round of cold temperatures approaches the state this weekend, ADEM said it is important for residents to check for leaks inside and outside of their homes and contact their utility company to address any issues found.  

An alternative to dripping faucets is insulated covers for outdoor faucets. It is also recommended that you disconnect outside hoses, keep the heat on indoors and shut the doors to rooms you aren't using.

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