This month's unusually cold weather has frozen pipes and torn brass fittings along water lines in Redway. The Redway Community Services District had to defrost freezing pipes at the wastewater treatment plant and shut off water to roughly ten customers after pipes burst, mostly at residences with nobody home.

"I think this is the third time in 20 years, and it usually occurs in January, not this early in the season. It's weird weather. We had quarter-inch brass valves shear themselves right off. The expansion of the water creates so much pressure that brass, bronze and steel will rupture," operations manager Ken Dean said after the Wednesday, Dec. 18 district board meeting. "We're still getting about one call per day for frozen pipes, but it slowed down,"

"We measured for about seven days and the warmest it got at the waste plant was 34 degrees. It was hanging around 12 degrees for the most part. We had some things freeze that we never expected to," he said.

District staff have been reminding residents to leave household faucets running at a trickle during cold weather to prevent their water lines from freezing. Water usage has increased, suggesting that more households are leaving the water on.

"That's the prudent thing to do," Dean added. "It's easier on our system and it's easier on the household systems if they keep the lines from freezing."

The RCSD now has a full board of directors for the first time since October of 2012, when John Rogers vacated his seat. Rian "Yarrow" Shultz was sworn in on Dec. 18, at the RCSD's regularly scheduled December meeting.

She has a background in forest defense and political activism, but this will be her first time sitting on a public board.

"I recognize how important water is, and also how important it is for young people to step into positions where we're understanding the way our towns flow and what's keeping us alive day to day," Shultz told the Redwood Times in November. "I'd like to explore our options as a town for water conservation, storage, collection, filtration, purification, and what happens with our sewage. There's a lot of possibilities out there and I want to see how practical some of those possibilities can be on a small-town scale."

The RCSD has repeatedly tabled several recurring agenda items over the last year opting to wait until they could be dealt with by a full board, including enforcement of the district's rules regarding multiple units using a single water and sewer hookup as well as the annexation of a parcel adjacent to the Evergreen Industrial Park. The board has resolved to contact the district's customers and ask if they have added rentals or other additional housing units that are still sharing a single hookup.

The proposed annexation was tabled, and will be reviewed again at another meeting at some point in the future. If dry weather conditions persist, the RCSD may also look at conservation issues at upcoming meetings. The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Redway Community Services District will take place at the district's business office at 1150 Evergreen Rd., Jan. 15, 2014.