Calgary saw 8 times more frozen pipe calls this week than it had in all of 2018

Mar 7 2019, 6:24 pm

When frozen pipes start bursting around the city, you know that it’s been a cold winter.

The City of Calgary issued a release on Thursday stating that it has seen a significant increase in reports of water mains breaking and water services freezing throughout the past week.

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The culprit, naturally, is the deep freeze that has set in over the city, dropping the frost level down to a depth of 2.4 metres, according to the release.

With water lines freezing and pipes bursting, the City says that is has received over 80 calls about frozen water services since March 1.

To put that into a little perspective here, the City also noted that, throughout the entirety of 2018, they had received a total of 10 calls regarding the same issues.

City crews are currently working overtime to get service back to normal.

“We are unfortunately dealing with unusual and extreme winter circumstances,” said Chris Huston, Manager of Drinking Water Distribution with The City of Calgary, in the release.

“We’re doing all we can to maximize our operational capacity, ensure citizens have access to water – and ultimately get services up as quickly as possible.”

Hutson also stated that, once crews are on the ground, it can take from 2 to 12 hours to properly thaw out the pipes.

“We are not always successful on the first try,” he said in the release.

A backlog of needed repairs has been created due to the increase in calls, and City crews are aiming to repair all services within one week’s time.

Those who are living with frozen water services are asked to contact the City, which will reach out to arrange a care package that includes potable and non-potable water, along with recreation passes for access to showers.

The City also offered a few tips for avoiding frozen pipes:

  • Keeping a small stream of water (pencil size) running
  • Program your dishwasher to run when you’re not home
  • Insulate pipes and areas containing pipes

Signs of frozen pipes:

  • No water or very little water coming out of the faucet – you may have a lack of running water coming out of your faucets. Check all faucets in the home
  • Frost on your internal pipes – if you have a large amount of frost on your main shut off valve or internal pipes
  • Flooding – frozen water can cause pipes to burst and cause flooding within the home

And what to do if you have frozen pipes:

“If your house or basement is flooding, turn off the main shut-off valve and call 311. If you believe your pipes have frozen, turn off water at the main shut-off valve and call a plumber.”

More information on frozen pipe prevention can be found on the City’s website.

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