PRESS RELEASE – City Assists As Brutal Winter Takes Toll on Pipes

For may home and business owners, this has been a winter of discontent as they’ve dealt with burst and frozen pipes thanks to the record low temperatures. As we head out the other side of of the season, it seems that the situation is dire for nearly 150 households that have no access to water, and there’s an emergency bit of construction that has to be performed downtown tomorrow. So it’s not over yet! Winter that is. The City of Guelph wants to put you notice that even though its March, we still have a long way to go.

Here’s the press release from the City of Guelph:

Guelph, ON, March 2, 2015—Extreme cold temperatures continue to affect water services throughout Guelph. One hundred and forty-six customers currently without running water are enrolled in the City’s frozen water assistance program.

The program provides gift cards for local grocery stores so people can purchase bottled water for drinking and cooking, and no charge access to shower at the City’s recreation facilities, and to laundromats. The City is also delivering water to its more vulnerable customers, i.e. those with mobility issues.

“Our first priority is to make sure people have clean water for drinking and cooking,” said Peter Busatto, general manager of the City’s Water Services department. “People have also told us they’re getting help from friends, family and neighbours, and we’re grateful to everyone who is stepping up to lend a hand.”

Last week, the City was dealing with high call volumes and all of those calls were returned over the weekend. Now, with more employees dedicated to managing service requests, anyone calling about frozen pipes can expect to hear from the City within 24 hours.

“People have been very understanding. They can see we’re doing everything we can to get things back to normal. It’s no small thing to go without running water, and we appreciate people’s perseverance,” added Busatto. “All of our crews are focused on getting at least temporary running water to as many people as possible.”

On Tuesday March 3, from 7 a.m. until noon the City will also be performing emergency repairs to underground water services at the corner of Wyndham and Quebec Street. Temporary water services will be maintained and downtown businesses will be open and accessible during the work. Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians are asked to follow all posted detours.

Guelph is one of several Ontario cities struggling with frozen water services this winter. Record cold, consistently low overnight temperatures and increased frost depth are contributing to service disruptions in Guelph and other cities including Toronto, Collingwood, Owen Sound and Sudbury.

With temperatures expected to remain below zero for at least another week, the City is asking residents and businesses to take steps to prevent household pipes from freezing. Tips are posted online at guelph.ca/frozenwater. Residents or businesses experiencing frozen water services, should call Water Services:

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

As warmer temperatures return, customers who have had frozen pipes should watch for cracks and leaks, and can visit guelph.ca/fix-a-leak for information about using their water meter to identify leaks.

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