HIGH MORALE DESPITE CONTINUED FREEZING IN NORTHWESTERN ONTARIO
As this long winter continues, towns across Northwestern Ontario are fighting the onslaught of frozen water pipes, water mains, and service lines. Dryden, Fort Frances, and Atikokan are three such locations trying to deal with the affects of brutal temperatures.
Debbie, from the City of Dryden, says that they're "...not as bad off as some of the areas around us. Kenora had four water mains break in one day. We haven't even had a main break, we've had a couple of curb stops, and frozen service lines to houses and businesses...we're far better off than some of the communities in the area."
Dryden currently has 50 frozen services lines and 1 frozen water main, according to Dean Walker, manager of waterworks. Piping in the City is installed eight to nine feet deep, and there are no plans to lay future water pipes at a greater depth. Walker says they expect it will be another month before things are back to normal for the City of Dryden, and until then many houses are being connected by hoses to give residents greater access to water.
Fort Frances, located about 200km south of Dryden and on the international border with the USA, has had 240 frozen water lines. "There's a handful that froze on the owners property but a good 90-95% froze at the road. There was another water main break here this morning, so I believe that makes 7," said Lori, a Public Works employee. "It's frustrating because now we have to pull our crews from thawing for the homeowners to work on a water main break, because we can't just leave a water main gushing all over. It's not good. I think the only thing that keeps us going is knowing that we're not alone."
Jim Hogan, Public Works Foreman in Atikokan, said they have approximately 51 frozen water lines of which roughly half do not have any access to water, just the jugs delivered to the homes. "Most are tied house to house with hoses, and some have tanks with pumps put in installed in their houses. The rest...we bring jugs of water and bottled water to them." Atikokan has had four water main breaks in the last week, but the town remains optimistic. "We're keeping on top of it."
The Northwestern Health Unit is urging all residents to be prepared in case of frozen pipes. Each person should store and have access to 4 litres of drinking water per day and have a three day supply, stored in food-safe containers. If in doubt of the safety of your water, bring it to a rolling boil for at least one full minute.