Extreme cold weather in Winnipeg this winter has led to the highest number of frozen pipes in the city in more than 35 years.
As of Feb. 25, there are about 300 homes needing pipes thawed. Approximately another 200 cases were reported in the past few weeks.
Crews are battling the frost to restore water to homeowners but long waits are causing frustration.
Early Tuesday morning, temperatures felt like -39 with the wind chill.
The city gave an update Tuesday on the situation and calls the number of homes affected by frozen pipes unprecedented.
In some areas, the frost goes as deep as seven feet.
Calls about frozen pipes started in December and workers have been playing catch-up to thaw them since then.
City workers will thaw pipes at no cost if the city’s portion of the water pipe is frozen.
The city said some homeowners may wait two weeks for a response, due to the current backlog.
“The reports of these frozen services are still coming in. So every day we're getting about 30 to 40 more services reported. So it's kind of a moving target,” said Tim Shanks a water distribution engineer with the City of Winnipeg.
He said there are three machines in the city that can thaw pipes and crews are working 24 hours a day.
He said the specialized machines are no longer made so the city is looking into other options for relief.
Shanks said temporary water supply stations will not be offered to individual homeowners, but the city can provide temporary hose connections between neighbours. But, there’s also a wait for that service.
Shanks said it’s hard to estimate when the city will get to a specific house and couldn’t say when all frozen pipes will be thawed.
The city has also sent out more than 400 letters to homeowners with a history of pipes freezing, advising them to leave cold water running at a trickle from a tap constantly.
Homeowners asked to leave water running by the city will receive a credit towards their utility bill.