Public Advisory: Potential for Freezing Service Lines

Update: Running Water advisory lifted

UPDATE April 8th, 2019:

As of today the run-water advisory is being lifted. Residents who have been running water may resume normal water use.

Public Advisory: Potential for Freezing Service Lines.

UPDATE March 19th:

Residents are reminded that despite the warmer temperatures, the frost is still in the ground is still a concern for some waterlines, and will continue to be of concern for some weeks to come. Even though the air temperature outside is warming, the frost in the ground will continue to go deeper and deeper, until the thawing ground eventually catches up. As the frost goes deeper, it will freeze any water it comes in contact with, this includes water service lines.

Residents and businesses are advised to continue running water. Running one tap with a stream of water the width of a pencil is sufficient to produce enough movement in your service line to prevent it from freezing.

Please note that water can optionally be collected and stored for later use. Tubs can be slowly filled with water to be used to bucket-flush toilets, and pitchers or pots can be slowly filled in sinks for drinking or cooking.

At this time the Town does not have the means to determine when the risk of freezing will be over for all residents.

For more information, please contact the Town Office.

ISSUED March 7th, 2019:

The prolonged cold snap has produced conditions that are causing some vulnerable water service lines between the water mains and residences and businesses to freeze. The Town of Cardston is issuing this advisory in order to provide residents and businesses with potential measures to help avoid a frozen water line.

Multiple factors will determine whether your water service is at risk of freezing, these include:

  • Frequency of water use

  • location, depth and length of service line

  • ground cover above service line

If you use your water frequently then you have little cause for concern, as warm water from the main frequently flushing through you pipes is sufficient to keep the pipe and surrounding ground from freezing. If you live in an older home however, or if you live alone and don’t use the water as frequently, then your pipes could be at risk of freezing during times of low usage, particularly at night.

Every residence and business in Town, with few exceptions, has a dedicated service line that connects to the water main deep in the street. These lines as a rule are expected to be buried well below the frost depth for the area in order to prevent freezing. There are however factors that can drive frost deeper than the normal frost depth. The recent late cold snap is one of those factors. Having a driveway above your service line is another factor, as the snow-cleared concrete can act as a conductor for cold and drive the frost deeper. Warming temperatures will also produce a phenomenon that drives frost deeper in the ground. As the surface temperature increases, the warmer temperatures drive the frost deeper as it thaws from top to bottom. Some older homes, homes without basements, and some homes with long service runs may have shallower pipes which are at greater risk of being frozen.

How to prevent frozen water lines:

The simplest solution to prevent frozen water lines is to keep water flowing through them. A slow trickle is all that is needed to prevent Ice from forming. If you suspect your pipes of being at risk, or if you’ve noticed a sudden decrease in pressure after of period of no use, then it may be advisable to let one of your faucets trickle during the night. The low cost of water (about $1.00 per 1,000 litres) will be significantly less than the cost of a plumber to thaw your pipes.

What to do if you suspect your service line is frozen:

If you find yourself without water, then you need to contact a plumber who is equipped to thaw your service line. Methods used to thaw water pipes include sending a hose down the pipe that shoots hot water or steam in order to melt the blockage and allow water to start flowing again.

For more advice on how to prevent or treat frozen water pipes, contact a certified plumber.