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Winter taking its toll

As if this winter hasn’t been chilling enough, city hall is now warning there’s another cause for worry – frozen underground water pipes on a scale not seen in Guelph since 1993. You may have got through the December ice storm, coped with shovelling all the snow that’s fallen, and managed to shiver your way through the many unusually frigid days of January and February. But the city is warning local residents they aren’t out of the woods – or the winter – yet.
While the city’s public works department has been struggling to keep the roads and sidewalks clear, all the while watching the bills mount up, the waterworks department reported Wednesday that it has responded to about 40 calls about frozen underground water services. And it suggested the worst might not be over. That’s because with extremely cold conditions, frost may reach the level of the buried water infrastructure towards the end of winter, usually in late February or early March.
In some of the cases it’s dealing with, the city said Wednesday, it could take until mid-April for the frozen water lines to thaw. Until then, bottled water might need to be used by affected customers for drinking and cooking, even if a temporary water line can be set up.
Most water services in Guelph are deeply buried for protection against frost, the city says. But some water service lines, it says, “are historically installed at a shallow depth by today’s standards.” The city requires new water lines to be buried at a depth of two metres.
Frozen water services were last a big issue in Guelph in 1993, when about 300 households were affected.
If the thought of frozen water pipes – inside your home or underground nearby – makes you shudder, the city has a spot on its website you can visit for lots of advice: guelph.ca/living/environment/water/drinking-water/frozen-water-service/
It’s worth a visit to this site to bring yourself up to speed. It’s also another reason to look forward to spring!

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