The Columbia ferry on the way into Haines. (Abbey Collins)

The Haines ferry terminal unexpectedly lost water flow last week. It was most likely caused by a frozen pipe. That theory will be tested as the ground starts to thaw out. Until then, the borough has a temporary fix.

Last week workers at the ferry terminal noticed they were losing water pressure. Then, it went away all together.

The borough stepped in, delivering water to the facility, with compensation from the state. Interim manager Brad Ryan says right now everything is functional.

“They have water, its potable. Everything seems to be working for them,” says Ryan. “It’s just I doubt they would want to be in this long-term system where we were delivering water to them all the time. Eventually they’d want to get that fixed.”

Ryan says the issue is likely a frozen pipe.

“The worse alternative is that there’s some sort of blockage in the line,” says Ryan. “We’ll have to try to figure out, or the state will have to depending on how we work out that relationship of where that blockage is at.”

Because of the terminal’s location, Ryan says it could be a while until things thaw out.

“That one out there unfortunately is kind of on the dark side of the mountain,” says Ryan. “So we don’t know if we would expect that to thaw out, if it’s frozen, until late April.”

In the meantime, he says the borough is working with the Alaska Department of Transportation to try to narrow down the cause of the issue. But, he says there’s not a lot that can be done at this point.

Terminal manager Fuzzy Von Stauffenberg says they’re trying to conserve the provided water. It is potable, and they have additional bottles for drinking. And, the bathrooms are functional.

There is one extra challenge in resolving the issue. It’s not clear who owns the water line that services the facility. According to Ryan, the borough doesn’t operate the line or charge for it. But, he says they will continue to work with DOT to keep the water running. With any luck, Ryan says the main water source will come back by the end of April, as the weather warms up.