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More broken water mains, more frozen pipes

Tuesday, March 11, 2014   by: Darren Taylor

As reported Monday by, the Sault Ste. Marie PUC was advising the public to prepare for traffic re-routing Monday night or early Tuesday morning on Great Northern Road near the Sault Area Hospital (SAH) entrance at Lukenda Drive so that crews could repair a water main break in that area.

That repair work has been postponed, Randy Johnson of PUC Marketing and Customer Communications has informed us.

“Now, we’re going day-to-day on that one,” Johnson said.

“The water is finding its way into the catch basin so it’s not on the roadway, and no one is without water.”

Johnson said the media and the public will be notified when the time does come for that particular repair job.

Vehicular traffic flow will be restricted and re-routed at that time.

The reason for the postponement, Johnson told us, is that PUC crews had to tackle six other, new water main breaks throughout the city.

Three occurred Monday evening on McMeeken Street, Spruce Street and Cunningham Road.

Then, during the early hours of Tuesday, PUC crews addressed water main breaks on Routledge Avenue, Campbell Avenue and Moluch Street.

“That’s quite a few water main breaks for our staff in a short period of time,” Johnson said.  

“We were hoping to get a crew together to get started on that water main repair (near SAH) at Great Northern and Lukenda but unfortunately other water main breaks took priority and we’ve only got so much as far as resources go.”

Meanwhile, Johnson told us Tuesday that as of Friday, March 7, a total of 208 Sault residents had reported frozen pipes in their homes since the PUC starting keeping count in December.

“The numbers are going up and they continue to go up, and that’s quite a leap…just over a four-day period we had 40 to 50 new frozen water service calls come in.”

Johnson said the frozen water pipe calls are not limited to any particular part of the city.

“We’ve had an historical list of those homes that were more susceptible and those are the folks we have contacted.”

However, Johnson said: “Now, we’re finding some new ones, even some businesses that in the past never experienced this type of problem.”

Johnson recalled the winter months of 1994 and 2003 were particularly harsh, estimating over 300 frozen pipe incidents hit community homes in 1994.

Johnson said: “(This winter) I think it has more to do with the ground being so saturated, there’s so much moisture from the heavy rain we had last fall, it didn’t get a chance to leave, then we had an early start to winter and everything froze up.”

“It’s continuing to just harden up and the frost keeps driving its way down, and we think that’s going to be pretty typical for the next six to eight weeks…we’ll continue to see frozen water services and water main breaks.”

“It’s really started to take its toll.”

The PUC has contacted and advised homeowners who have experienced frozen pipes in the past to keep their water running at the thickness of a pencil, 24 hours a day, preferably from a basement laundry tub, in order to prevent their pipes freezing again.

The PUC says such customers can make arrangements with the utility to be billed on the average amount of water they used at this time last year. 

As an added precaution, Johnson said customers should ensure plumbing on outside walls is well-insulated, especially at homes that have crawl spaces. 

Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
ray zinbag 3/11/2014 7:42:57 PM Report

What about all the water in the end of my drive way cause the snow banks are 10 feet tall and are half way on the road
Beej 3/11/2014 7:55:55 PM Report

A perfect opportunity to play with your rubber ducky.
Oldie Goldie 3/11/2014 8:40:48 PM Report

A few years ago the P.U.C. told homeowners to leave their water running---a little bit---all the time to avoid freeze-ups---it worked and the P.U.C. only charged an average amount for that time period.

They could have --and should have done the same thing for this past winter.
In the long run the P.U.C. would have saved a lot of money with less pipe freezes.
But who said that the P.U.C. should save money!
Lleoy 3/11/2014 9:06:34 PM Report

Clean water on the road, brown water out of the taps.
mallet 3/11/2014 10:52:29 PM Report

Ah Ha. Running into a catchbasin,eh. gonna wait until a transport goes into a sinkhole and then fix it. I just love it when a plan comes together, hopefully it will be the PUC managers truck that goes in first followed by the transport!!!
eadiecougs 3/12/2014 12:21:21 AM Report

brand new building rotten pipes whats wrong with this picture
sAUCEY 3/12/2014 10:36:20 AM Report

you guys no the frost is at 7 feet in some places right? it's not that the pipes are rotten, it's that the frost is so far down, it hasnt been lower than 4 feet in the past 10 years... its a bad bad winter
eadiecougs 3/12/2014 12:09:31 PM Report

better get better pipes installed in the summer because we will get winters like this more often.the brand new building will be nice and safe but everything else the PUC owns will break down.Their building was just fine for,you take care of your sewers and electrical equipment first then build a new building .the new store thats in the old building don't seem to mind
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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