Council approves Frozen Water Pipe Policy

City encourages residents to prepare for winter

Guelph, ON, November 24, 2015—City Council approved a policy for frozen water pipes at last night’s Council meeting. The Frozen Water Pipe Policy was developed by staff following last winter’s unforeseen issues with frozen pipes when 376 customers were affected. In a typical year, less than twenty customers are affected by this issue.

“The new policy identifies the response actions and  service the City will provide for customers with frozen pipes,” said Wayne Galliher, Manager of Technical Services. “Last winter we quickly developed and continued to adjust support resources in response to the record numbers of frozen water pipe reports we received. We have improved, clarified and formalized the support options through the policy, which will form our customer response for frozen pipes moving forward.”

The City has also increased its proactive prevention efforts, which includes expanding the list of customers who will be contacted to run water if and when monitored weather indicator limits are reached.  Last year almost 150 customers were enrolled in this successful preventative program. The 376 customers whose pipes froze in February and March of 2015 have been added to the program, and letters were mailed to the affected addresses at the beginning of November.

Temporary water lines can provide drinkable water

A critical factor in  the policy came from discussions with the Wellington–Dufferin–Guelph Public Health to approve temporary water lines for drinking and cooking in addition to showering, laundry and toilet flushing. The City will be able to verify whether water provided through a temporary hose is drinkable by testing for residual chlorine  and water hardness. The chlorine residual test ensures proper disinfection of water, and the hardness test verifes that the temporary water supply is not softened.

“This new service will help minimize inconvenience to affected customers by providing an alternate supply of water that can be used for all household needs,” noted Galliher.

Temporary lines that cannot be approved for drinking and cooking can still be used for bathing, laundry and toilet flushing. Customers in this situation will be provided with vouchers to purchase bottled water for drinking and cooking needs.

Prevention starts at home

In addition to targeted preventative outreach, the City is advising everyone in Guelph to take action to prevent frozen pipes at home and at work. These simple actions can help protect water pipes from freezing:

  • Insulate water pipes, especially where they enter your home, where they run along outside walls, and in crawl spaces and attics
  • Open doors to basements, laundry rooms and pantries to keep water pipes warm
  • Leave bathroom and kitchen cupboard doors open if your pipes run along an outside wall; take care to remove household cleaners and other items that could harm children or pets
  • Shut off and drain pipes leading to outside faucets
  • Seal air leaks in your home and garage, especially in areas where water pipes are located
  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water pipes in the garage
  • If you’re going away, talk to your insurance company about what you can do to protect your home from frozen pipes and leaks while you’re away
  • Be prepared for any emergency with a 72-hour emergency kit, visit guelph.ca/beprepared

For more tips and information about frozen pipes, and to review the City’s Frozen Water Pipe Policy, visit guelph.ca/frozenwater

For more information

Wayne Galliher, Manager, Technical Services
Water Services
519-822-1260 extension 2106
wayne.galliher@guelph.ca