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City to revisit home with frozen pipes

By Jessica Lovell
Guelph Tribune
A woman who believes the city may have flubbed when it approved installation of her new water service pipes at too shallow a depth is now getting some satisfaction from the city in solving her problem.
“In May when the ground thaws, they’ve actually offered to re-excavate,” said Nadia Slawinski.
Her home on Dufferin Street is one of about 80 properties in the city that had their water lines freeze this winter due to ongoing and extreme cold, and, in many cases, shallow pipes.
In Slawinski’s case, her older home had old infrastructure with pipes buried at a depth that didn’t meet the city’s current 1.8-metre-deep standard.
But when the water line was replaced two and a half years ago through the city’s Get The Lead Out program, the city approved the new pipe to be buried at a depth of only 34 inches (0.86 metres), she said.
The city’s manager of inspection services, Rob Reynen, said it is not uncommon to tie into a home’s existing access when replacing water lines, but if a pipe cannot be buried at a sufficient depth below the frost line, it should be insulated.
That’s what the city will be checking for when it re-excavates Slawinski’s lines this spring, she said.
“If they have not been properly insulated, they will put insulation around the pipes,” she said.
This solutions is just OK, but not as good as reinstalling the pipes at the correct depth would be, said Slawinski.
“It’s not the (solution) I was hoping for,” she said. “But at least they’ve offered to do something.”
Reynen confirmed that the city will be looking into the issue.
“Building Services has contacted the resident and contractor, and advised both parties that city staff will investigate the service lines to confirm if the installation meets Building Code requirements,” Reynen said in an email in response to a Tribune inquiry.
He did not say exactly what action would be taken once the service lines were dug up, saying only “we’ll know more once we’ve conducted the investigation.”
In the meantime, Slawinski has running water thanks to a temporary line the city set up through a neighbour’s outside tap.
“My temporary line is running OK,” she said.
The temporary line doesn’t supply potable water, but she is getting by filling up jugs from friends’ taps, she said. And though she was without running water for about two weeks before the temporary line was set up, she is not unhappy with the city’s efforts to help her with her situation.
“I understand that they’re doing what they can,” she said.

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