SUDBURY – The impact of extreme cold across the North has the City of Sudbury moving to take action. The issue of frozen water pipes from the periods of extended cold have twenty-one homes in the lineup for help in the Sudbury region.
City of Greater Sudbury Water/Wastewater Services has activated its emergency response plan to better serve residents affected by frozen water service.
All available personnel in Water/Wastewater Services are dedicated to restoring water service to residents.
As of noon on February 25, a total of 21 properties are in the queue for hot water thawing of their frozen water service. Current estimated wait time for thawing crews is three days, dependent on when permission to thaw was received by the City.
Another 22 properties are currently waiting for electrical thawing of their frozen service, following an unsuccessful attempt to thaw the service with the conventional hot water and steam method. The current estimated wait time for electrical thawing is eight days. This method requires specialized equipment, of which there is only one in the City, and the services of a licensed electrician. Other municipalities are dealing with similar high number of frozen water services, making it difficult to borrow equipment.
When both hot water/steam and electrical thawing methods are unsuccessful, crews must dig to thaw the frozen service line. Currently, seven properties are on the waiting list for excavation. Wait times for excavation are currently unavailable but the City is working to reschedule crews to move through the waiting list as quickly as possible.
Greater Sudbury Water/Wastewater Services currently has 5 crews and up to 6 contractors working seven days a week to thaw frozen services. Residents who suspect their water service is frozen are asked to dial 3-1-1, at any hour of day, seven days a week. A Water/Wastewater Operator will visit the affected property to provide professional expertise and additional information. Residents who are not home at the time of the visit will find an information sheet in their door or mailbox. Estimated wait time for this initial visit is two days.
The most important direction to residents is to dial 3-1-1 to provide the City of Greater Sudbury with permission to enter their private property to thaw the frozen water service. The thawing crew will determine whether the frozen service is on municipal property or private property. If the frozen portion of pipe is on municipal property, there is no charge for thawing. If the frozen portion of pipe is on private property, the charge is $173 per hour.
Thawing crews will make every attempt to contact residents within 30 minutes to one hour in advance of their visit. The amount of advance notice will vary, as crews are moving from one property to the next following restoration of each frozen water service. The amount of time to thaw a frozen water service will vary according to conditions.
Residents are cautioned that air temperature is not an indicator of risk of frozen water services. It will likely be three months before the risk of ground frost has been lifted.