Guelph prepares for spring thaw, watermain breaks

Guelph, ON, March 13, 2015—Guelph is down to 41 properties without running water. The City has installed more 235 temporary service lines, crews are scheduled to install at least 10 more today and some pipes are starting to thaw on their own with the warmer weather.

The City is still delivering water to critical care customers and scheduling service for all remaining properties without water. Anyone with frozen pipes can get vouchers to buy drinking water, use the showers at our recreation centres, and have free use of laundromats.

People using temporary water services are reminded to use bottled water for drinking and cooking.  Temporary water service can be used for cleaning, flushing toilets and other needs.

Responding to watermain breaks

Guelph has seen some warmer temperatures, but crews are still finding underground frost as deep as 1.5 to 1.8 metres (5 to 6 feet). This amount of frost is unprecedented for Guelph, and the City is prepared to respond to watermain breaks as the ground thaws over the next few weeks.

“We are not out of the woods yet. Crews are still working seven days a week and we’re hoping to see a slow and steady increase in temperatures. If it warms up too fast, we’ll have to address more watermain breaks,” said Peter Busatto, general manager of Guelph’s Water Services department.

Letting things thaw

The City also warns people with frozen pipes not to use chemicals to attempt to thaw frozen household plumbing.

“Adding chemicals to household plumbing and pipes is dangerous, and can contaminate your drinking water. Please be patient and keep yourself and others in your household safe,” added Busatto.

The City is asking people who have had frozen pipes to check for leaks as things thaw. People who have had frozen pipes inside or outside their property are advised to contact their insurance provider as pipes may have cracked or broken while they were frozen.

Preventing pipes from freezing

In the spring, the City will review and re-prioritize planned infrastructure upgrades for the next few years with the aim of focusing on pipes with a high risk of freezing.

The City will also expand its freeze prevention program to include more properties next year. The program helped about 148 properties with a history of frozen pipes maintain running water this winter.

“We’ve had our share of frozen pipes in the past and prevented 98 per cent of those known cases from freezing again this year, but this year is not a normal year. Unprecedented cold temperatures affected more people than ever before—here in Guelph and across Ontario,” said Busatto.

Contact Water Services

Daily, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 519-837-5627
After hours at 1-866-630-9242

Media contact

Stacey Hare, Senior Communications Officer
Corporate Communications
519-822-1260 extension 2611