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Those ol’ end-of-winter blues...

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You certainly don’t need me to tell you what a long, cold, brutal winter this has been.


And it isn’t letting go easily: even though the snow has started to melt, and things are beginning to re-appear from under their mounds, some 2,500 homes in Winnipeg are still suffering from frozen water pipes. I’ve had my own tribulations but it does seem that winter has been concentrating on my half of the block.


At the end of February, I had flooding in the basement — routine in a way, since at that time of the year the trees generate masses of rootlets in preparation for spring.  If your sewage outlet is old, as mine is, now and then the rootlets penetrate it and block it up. I called the drain service and they fixed it up in jig time.


At the end of March, my neighbour came over to borrow my roof rake. Good thing she did, because when I went downstairs to find it, I discovered more flooding! I recalled the drain service; they were unable to do anything and advised me that the outlet was frozen and that I’d better call the city to check up on the street sewer.  


In only a couple of hours, some city person came and left me a note that the street sewer was indeed frozen and that they’d attempt to fix it.


Their monster Vator truck came along, went down the street to the next manhole, and roared away there for a while. This was Friday evening. They came back on Saturday, while I was out, and cleared the street sewer outside my house. This still didn’t fix my problem, so they came back on Sunday and tried again, going to the length of shooting steam up what they thought was my outlet.  (It wasn’t!)


Eventually they told me they’d done all they could and that I’d have to get the drain service in to steam out my outlet. This I did, and by Tuesday I was back to normal, although putting bathfuls of hot water through just in case!


A couple of weeks earlier, somebody down the street had frozen water pipes.  While the drain service was steaming me out, another neighbour came by to see what was happening — he had frozen outlets too.


The Vator truck came back a couple of times later that week. And finally, my immediate neighbours (with whom I have the greatest relationship) have frozen water pipes.  I needn’t tell you about the mice and the squirrels that are sharing my house for the duration — it’s time to get a cat again.


Winter — loosen up! You’ll get your chance again.

Peter Lacey is a community correspondent for St. Vital.

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