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City Urges Residents to Protect Water Lines

Warm Weather will not Alleviate Freezing

Post Date:03/08/2019 11:11 AM

Medicine Hat – The City’s Environmental Utilities department is urging residents to pay attention to their water lines and prevent them from freezing. City crews continue to respond to emergency calls as frost in the ground affects water lines, and the warm weather around the corner will not alleviate things right away.

The City says a good way to think about frost in the ground is to remember that it takes a week to defrost a turkey. “It will take at least two weeks of warm temperatures to tackle the deep frost in the ground after the extreme cold,” says Brian Murphy, General Manager of Environmental Utilities. “It is important that residents and businesses take ongoing measures to ensure their water and sewer services don’t freeze.”

The best way to prevent freezing is to leave a tap running with a flow of about the width of a pencil. The utility cost of running a tap this way is approximately $1 per day. This is a far better alternative than requiring an emergency visit from City crews.

Frozen water lines can be costly, possibly resulting in significant repairs and water loss due to breaks or leaks. While crews are responding to emergency calls, the City advises that a plumbing company can also assist with frozen services.

“Given the number of calls we are getting, we don’t want customers to wait when there are alternatives and it is an emergency,” adds Murphy. “A plumbing company will charge for these services but may arrive more quickly. Clearly, the best option is to prevent this from happening through proactive steps.”

In addition to running a tap, other steps can be taken to ensure there is sufficient heat flow and insulation on lines adjacent to exterior walls. These include opening vanity cabinet doors and the use of heat tape. Residents are advised not to use dangerous methods such as the use of blow torches on frozen water lines.

“If you have seen City crews in your area this past month, chances are you need to be taking proactive steps to prevent water pipes from freezing,” notes Murphy. “The majority of calls about frozen water services are from older neighbourhoods, but there is no guarantee regarding which homes or businesses could be affected by frozen lines in these conditions.”

Seasonal reminders about the protection of water lines can be found at under Water Utilities - General Information:



For more information:
Brian Murphy, General Manager
Environmental Utilities

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