Ottawa homeowner now 11 days without water, no fix in sight
Published Wednesday, March 4, 2015 5:44PM EST Last Updated Wednesday, March 4, 2015 7:15PM EST
Eleven days and counting and an Ottawa woman is still without water in her house. There is confusion over where the frozen pipe sits. Is it on city property or the homeowners? Either way, Susanne Liou is stuck in the middle. With bills mounting, and no resolution, Liou may have to move out of her house and wait another month or two for the ground to thaw before the water starts flowing.
Since February 20th, Loui’s taps have been running dry at her townhome in Ottawa’s east end. Nothing; not even a trickle.
‘There are a lot of questions and people are tossing this around like a hot potato,’ says Liou, ‘and I’m stuck in the middle and I have no water.’
She's been thawing snow to flush her toilet, showering at a neighbour's and hoarding water in jugs.
The bills are mounting; nearly a thousand dollars so far and still no fix.
The confusion seems to lie at the valve just outside her front door. Initially, the city indicated that the valve was on city property and tried to fix the frozen pipe with steam. That didn’t work. Liou was told the next step would be the city’s thawing machine that would pass an electric current through the frozen pipe. She waited several days for city work crews to show up and was finally told that the problem existed on private property and she would have to hire a contractor to fix it. She called a contractor immediately who tried for six hours to try to unplug the pipe. Multi-Drain told CTV over the phone that his workers had problems with the valve and that there is confusion over whether the valve belonged to the city or whether it was Liou’s responsibility. Either way, they could not fix the frozen pipe.
‘They couldn't even get a trickle going,’ says Liou, ‘So the freeze is pretty solid.’
Liou says the city's delay in responding to her could have contributed to the extension of the freeze. The city did not respond to our request for an interview and Multi-Drain was too busy fixing other frozen pipes, like one affecting about 10 homes off Albion Drive. Residents there have been without water for five days.
‘We've just been carrying water,’ says resident Joey Mah, ‘carrying buckets of snow and thawing them since.’
This is private property so the cost will be borne by the homeowners but it should mean water by the end of the day.
‘That's the plan,’ says Mitch Mousseau, with Multi-Drain, ‘we're doing best we can, assuming everything goes wel.’
As for Liou, she may have to pay thousands of dollars to dig up that frozen pipe or wait until the ground thaws weeks from now.
‘I’m learning way more about the water infrastructure than I ever wanted to know,’ she adds.