4 March 2015

Severe and uninterrupted cold weather this year has resulted in a significant increase in requests to thaw frozen water pipes. The City has assigned all available crews to respond to this issue and is working 24 hours a day to restore water service to affected properties. Read on for the City of Ottawa's advice on what to do if your pipes are frozen, or if you're concerned they could freeze.

If you prefer looking ahead to warmer weather, you may be interested in learning more about the City of Ottawa Community Environmental Projects Grant Program.

David Chernushenko
David Chernushenko
Councillor for Capital Ward
613-580-2487 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


In this issue

What to do if your water service pipe is frozen

  • Report a frozen service pipe by calling the City at 3-1-1. The estimated wait time for restoring water services, as of March 3, is a minimum of 5 days.
  • Help crews to thaw your service pipe:
    • If your shutoff valve is outside the building, find it and clear away the snow.
    • If it's inside, clear a path to it and removing any furniture or breakables from the immediate area.
  • The City is providing bottled water to affected residents. Contact the City to request bottled water through 3-1-1.
  • Use the shower facilities at any City recreation facility (no admission fee will be charged).
  • Melt snow in your bathtub for non-drinking water uses, such as flushing toilets.
  • All residents should have an emergency water kit/supply available year-round as part of normal emergency preparedness.

REMINDER: Once your water service pipe has been thawed, continue to leave a steady stream of water running until mid-April since the frost still remains in the ground.


If you think your pipes may freeze

Most water services in Ottawa are buried deep enough to protect them from frost penetration. However, depending on soil conditions and snow cover around properties, frost may penetrate the ground deep enough to freeze some water pipes during extremely cold weather.

If your home or business is a property where this could be a problem, you may have been sent a notice suggesting that you open one cold water tap in your building and leave a steady stream about 0.5 cm or 1/4 inch (the size of a drinking straw) running until mid-April. Responsibility for the cost of running your water is indicated on the notice and depends upon where the service has frozen in the past. For instance:

  • If history has shown the service to freeze on your property's portion of the service, you must cover the cost of running the water, and you should have received a notice informing you of this situation.
  • If history has shown the service to freeze on the City's portion of the service, and you have received a written notification from the City to run the water this winter, the City will cover the cost of running the service by adjusting your water bill in future months.

The majority of calls received for frozen water pipes and water meters are a result of inadequate heating and cold air drafts near pipes inside the home. If this is the case, you may wish to contact a plumbing contractor to thaw the lines.


If you've experienced frozen pipes in the past

If your property has experienced persistent problems with frozen water pipes in the past, you may wish to do one or both of the following:

  • Ensure your indoor air temperature is kept above 6 degrees Celsius in all areas that contain water pipes, and especially where your meter is installed.
  • Run water to keep the water from freezing in the pipes. Turn on one cold water tap and run it continuously until the frost is out of the ground (approximately mid-April or later if you receive a notice from the City). The steady stream should be at least the diameter of an adult thumb. The estimated added cost charged on your water bill will be between $3 and $4 per day for the extra water consumed. 


Community Environmental Projects Grant Program

Are you looking for an opportunity to put your environmental ideas into action? The City of Ottawa is now accepting applications for the 2015 Community Environmental Projects Grant Program (CEPGP).

CEPGP has funding available to community groups and non-profit organizations who want to undertake environmental stewardship projects in the areas of improving stormwater management, enhancing and protecting natural systems, or reducing our environmental impact.

The application deadline is Monday, June 1, 2015 at 4 p.m.

Successful CEPGP grant recipients must complete their projects within one year of receiving their funds. For details on funding eligibility criteria, the application process, profiles of past projects, and an online application, please visit the City of Ottawa website at ottawa.ca/cepgp.

For more information on CEPGP, please contact Jennifer Brown, CEPGP Co-ordinator, at 613-580-2424 x 27914 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..