The City expects me to spend an extra $200 a month running my water because they did not bury my water line deep enough to prevent it freezing.
By Greg Smith
Published February 13, 2014
Last Tuesday my water stopped working. I contacted a plumber and he assessed that the issue was outside of my house. I then contacted the city, and on Thursday a contractor came to thaw the line. They ran a jet of hot water through the line, and by Friday they had the line open.
The plumber told me the freezing had occurred in the final 4" of my feed line, 4" from the main trunk. His opinion was that when I had paid the City to upgrade my line from lead to cooper, they hadn't buried the old line deep enough, leaving it buried in the ground attached to the new line by a Y-junction.
As a go-forward I was advised to run my water at a pencil width down the drain. The contractor achieved the desired flow, and upon his departure I measured the rate of flow. I timed how long it would take to fill a litre: 34 seconds. I multiplied this by a thousand to determine a cubic metre rate: 9.44 hours.
There are 730.48 hours in a month. I divided this by 9.44, bringing me to 77.4 cubic metres per month. The flow of water I have to maintain to avoid my line freezing amounts to an additional $200 per month.
Upon asking who was to pay for this, I was shocked to hear it would be my family! This is especially concerning, given the City's attempts to promote conservation of our utilities and the fact that the City has introduced a tiered water payment system, at the current rates of $1.29 and $1.32 for consumption and sewer service respectively.
I immediately contacted the City on Friday, February 7. I left a message expressing my concerns and relaying the information I discussed above. Someone from the City contacted me later that afternoon and was surprised at my findings.
I was told a City worker would arrive today at my house to disconnect my meter. I would then be charged based on my historical consumption.
Today, when the worker called, he told me he was no longer authorized to remove my meter. I called the City back and was told there had been a change in policy and they will not be disconnecting meters.
This is extremely upsetting! Why am I being penalized for an issue on the City's property, likely caused by faulty work?
I can turn the water off and have repeated visits from a contractor to thaw the line at the City's expense and my inconvenience, or keep it flowing and pay a huge penalty. Both solutions are unacceptable.
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