Tbnewswatch Local News
Friday July 3 2015
4:18 PM EDT
2014-03-12 at 15:19

Water problems

Sprague Street resident Mike Donio and his family are frustrated they’ve been without water for more than a week as city crews try to catch up thawing frozen residential water pipes.
Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com
Sprague Street resident Mike Donio and his family are frustrated they’ve been without water for more than a week as city crews try to catch up thawing frozen residential water pipes.
By Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com

Mike Donio and his family have been without water services for nearly a week.

And there’s no end in sight for the Sprague Street father-of-two.

Donio said he called the city’s environmental division last Thursday the minute he noticed his pipes had frozen and was told it would be up to a week before crews got to his house. Six days later Donio has been told he could be without water for up to one more week.
He’s not happy.

“You don’t realize how much you take for granted having your water just accessible to you. Without the water, for the young children to go to the bathroom I have to drive to a convenience store, Tim Hortons or McDonald’s just for them to use the facilities,” Donio said.

“It’s so tough not having any water at all, especially for laundry, dishes, cooking.”
Donio and his wife Andra are not alone.

City officials say they’ve responded to 638 calls so far this winter, about 20 times the usual number. Crews just can’t keep up with the demand.

Add to that 57 water main breaks – well beyond the average annual total, with the season just starting to heat up and dozens more expected – and it’s overwhelming said Tony Santos, supervisor of the city’s drinking water licensing program.

Water mains breaks, which affect entire neighbourhoods, take priority, he added.

“They have the most risk to our distribution system,” Santos said. “Our operators are diligent and want to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“The city is in an unprecedented situation with the amount of frozen water services that we’re experiencing this year.”

Workers have successfully resolved about 400 of the frozen pipe cases, but it will take time to clear the backlog, with cases coming in faster than crews can melt the ice. It takes between half an hour and four hours for one home, Santos said.

Workers are on the clock 16 hours a day, but there’s only so much they can do. The training and equipment used to thaw pipes are specialized, meaning supervisors can’t simply shift employees from one department to another.

City officials have also reached out to neighbouring communities in search of additional machines to help thaw pipes in a timelier manner, but have been shut down, told the problem is region-wide.

It’s not getting any better, as the frost begins to rise and cause damage as it works its way to the surface.

“Unfortunately the wait times are increasing. They’re coming in faster than we can actually get to do the repairs on them,” said Santos, noting the frost has penetrated to a depth of seven feet, far deeper than usual.

Santos has no idea how long it will be until the city catches up. But there are remedies that have been put in place to help affected residents cope.

“We are offering free water cards so people can actually get water from our water-fill stations, as well as shower facilities at our city pools, for free.”

The explanations are of little comfort to the Donios, who are considering a temporary move across town to a relative’s place if the water is out of service much longer.

“It’s frustrating,” Donio said.



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The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
Its great to be a Northerner.
3/14/2014 9:53:40 AM
Randomasterix says:
Be content, Be happy, Be patient.
City crews are working 16 hour days towards this. (So says the news)
Life isn't so bad!
3/14/2014 5:26:57 AM
bttnk says:
All the best to those impacted by this. Hopefully everything will be back to normal soon.

It sure makes you think how great we have it that it becomes a dire incovenience to go without endless running water for less then a week. I hope everyone appreciates how lucky we are . Good luck
3/13/2014 1:37:20 PM
ring of fire dude says:
At least the Hospital has stopped sinking for a while .
3/13/2014 12:57:31 PM
Dockboy says:
habsgirl, go leafs.
3/13/2014 8:30:01 AM
YellowSnow13 says:
I understand if you run your water in your basement or leave a tap dripping you will help avoid a freezing water line. So if you have a basement shower, use it. If your laundry is in the basement, do it a couple of times a week instead of once. It may prevent a freeze up. I'm doing it and so far, no problems.
3/13/2014 6:28:59 AM
razor_burn says:
Still believe in global warming?
3/13/2014 3:52:05 AM
Brutus02 says:
Yes, maybe if you understood what global warming actually means you would too.
3/13/2014 9:32:17 AM
unknowncronik says:

With a new arena in the city,
the water issues would just go away & all our problems will be solved!!

Besides, the marina looks terrible with a bus depot right there...

Shoulda built that arena years ago & none of the pipes would have burst...dang cityhall! ;/
3/13/2014 2:24:02 AM
The Critic says:
Maybe we can install a heat recovery system in the council chambers, all the hot air that comes out of there could probably de-thaw a large portion of the city.
3/13/2014 12:07:44 AM
Luxe says:
Melt snow for your toilet tank. Then you don't have to go to the gas station. Part of farm life when the well ran out of water growing up.
3/13/2014 12:02:48 AM
RelaxinginMurillo says:
Melting snow might be a little tedious, but do-able. People could also use some of that hauled water (from the city depots) and just pour a small pail's worth into the toilet bowl. It will flush. (Dont wait until its jammed full though lol)
They could also heat up that water in a large pot etc on the stovetop and have sponge/splash baths in the tub.
Not fun or easy, but sure would be better than driving to/from a public pool in the middle of winter..
3/13/2014 10:32:14 AM
timetogo says:
Hi Mike!
3/12/2014 8:32:30 PM
habsgirl says:
To p.o.ed taxpayer: The crews did not "unthaw" your lines...Mother Nature did that! The correct English would be that they thawed the lines!
3/12/2014 6:41:19 PM
unheard says:
The mayor and city officials are to busy consulting over the event centre to be bothered with such minor things they call it progress people
3/12/2014 5:20:51 PM
passlake says:
you do realize that this is because it was cold this winter, right?

all the talk in the world could not change that fact.

I'm glad they talked about the event center! that is something they CAN change.
3/12/2014 9:51:18 PM
rootbear says:
I wonder if it'll get worse in places like Northwood? The land around there is sinking like an 1" a year. There's one fire hydrant that's 4 feet in the air! Soon our pipes will be just under the soil. We are doomed, DOOMED!
3/12/2014 5:05:21 PM
aluker says:
It is very sad that residences have to go thru this. The city has a liability here. We pay to have these services provided. I would be calling all Alderman and the Mayor daily. Provide these clients with passes to shower at complex and vouchers for laundry. Also rebate all on water bills as no service.
3/12/2014 4:59:11 PM
or$en says:
then we get the water in the house.
then we pack up and go to churchill pool.
only to find that you need to be clothed to have shower and there is no privacy one shower for 5 people at a time.

then you go home and pack up the laundry and head off to the laundromat. $3.00 a load to wash.
now using paper cups and dishes. forget any real cooking.

to call this inconvenient is being mild.

right now the thawing machine is 10 doors from my house. no they wont come here next. they have to go in order of the work orders.

another few days of this at least
3/12/2014 3:47:43 PM
Blisterfoot says:
Time to move to a warmer climate, lol.
3/12/2014 3:46:40 PM
or$en says:
i have a family of 4 and we have pets also.
our pipes froze Thursday night also, i live just around the corner from this family.

we called the city as soon as possible about the problem. the city employee on the phone was very polite and as helpful as he could be.

we were told it would be at least a week,and that "if" we needed a shower we could sign in at the city run pools. we were also told we could go to victoriaville and get a water card.

now the water card is not free to begin with. there is a 15 dollar deposit to get the card. then you have to put money on the debit/credit card to use it. $20.00 will buy a lot of water.

then they tell you that the closest place to use the card is mount forest blvd in neebing.
that you will need containers for the water you purchase, 20 liter jugs are are $17.00 each at the hardware store. i bought 5 as thats all that will fit in my car.

the money remaining on the card after this will be reimbursed when this is done. so we do the drive 2 day
3/12/2014 3:41:35 PM
p.o.ed taxpayer says:
Our waterline crosses under our driveway and was frozen. we called and were told it may be up to a week as the crews were busy. within a few hours a crew came by to mark and clear the water valve, and the next morning another crew arrived to unthaw the line. It is very inconvenient to be without water for any length of time; however under the circumstances I was very happy with the timely response and the courteous attitude of our crew.
3/12/2014 3:33:38 PM
fastball says:
Winnipeg has had over 200 water main breaks this winter - compared with a seasonal average of 130. Saskatoon is averaging 100 breaks a month, and Kenora's got a boil-water advisory because of water main breaks - noting that their ground frost level has extended almost 8 feet down.
I don't think all the infrastructure money in the world will help with temperatures so consistently cold that causes the ground to heave so much in winter, causing the pipes to bend and break.
It's an unfortunate fact of life living in the North...especially with this winter's temps the coldest in the past 15-20 years.
3/12/2014 3:32:52 PM
Today1 says:
More damage control from Donald St? You seem privy to a lot of inside information. Sometimes, I wonder if 500 Donald St pays people to post on websites. I could never figure out why anyone would constantly come out to a govts defence without some personal interests...
But you are right about with your information, fortunately we had a lot of snow this winter, or it could be much worse.
3/12/2014 11:02:59 PM
fastball says:
You got me. I confess. I'll come clean, Officer.
The source of my insider information.....is Google.
Look it up, for god's sake.
water main breaks - (city) - winter 2014, etc. There's only about 402,000 hits.

3/13/2014 7:39:39 AM
jb says:
None of what fastball posted is inside information. Some people actually stop and think before blaming government for everything.
3/13/2014 8:46:29 AM
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