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City of Winnipeg responds to 352 frozen pipe calls

City crews thaw frozen pipes with one of three specialized machines. Ashley Carter / Global News

With the deep cold comes frosty eyelashes, misty breath — and frozen water pipes.

The City of Winnipeg says it has responded to 352 frozen pipe calls in the past week, and 641 calls in total since the end of December.

The vast majority of those were internal pipes in people’s homes, said a city spokesperson, but 128 of those were on city or homeowner property.

Read more: Frozen city pipes see small spike as cold Winnipeg weather continues

“It’s important to note that while sudden cold can cause internal pipes to freeze, frozen underground pipes are more influenced by sustained cold weather, as they are primarily a result of frost depth in soil,” said the spokesperson.

“We normally start to see the number of underground frozen pipes increase later in winter.”

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Last year, the city responded to 972 frozen pipe calls in total, a number that will likely be surpassed this year as the deep freeze continues.

Water mains

The city has also been grappling with water main breaks, including one that some people thought was a sewage spill.

Turns out, that was not the case.

“On February 10, a water main break near Lagimodiere Boulevard and Chief Peguis Trail resulted in water flowing into a nearby retention pond,” said the spokesperson.

Click to play video 'Water Main Break on Gateway' Water Main Break on Gateway
Water Main Break on Gateway – Feb 12, 2021

“This water flowed northwest towards the pond’s outlet near Gateway Road and into Bunn’s Creek. The flowing water stirred up stagnant water and sediments in the retention pond, which can cause odour and discolouration. Decaying vegetation on the ice can also appear yellow.”

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The water was shut off and repairs made, said the spokesperson.

“To confirm, this was not a sewage spill.”