Debate surfaces over city not compensating people affected by flooding after water main break
For the second time since Sunday, a water main broke in the 1300 block of Notre Dame Avenue.
City crews spent Sunday night and all day Monday searching for the source of the break, which flooded nearby streets and basements. After locating and fixing the break, the water was turned back on Monday night, but a second break was then reported, CTV News has learned.
The city, however, said it's not responsible for damage to nearby homes and businesses.
Dignity Transportation, which provides wheelchair-accessible transportation was one of the areas flooded, said spokesperson Phil Walding.
Walding says the furnace no longer works, their insurance doesn't cover overland flooding and now they have a $7,000 bill.
"If something happened in this building that spilled onto city property I'd be getting the bill but if it's the other way around I'm on my own," he said Walding.
On Monday, the city said a pipe more than 100 years old had become corroded and was to blame for the break.
"The city isn't actually liable for damage or loss caused by a water main break -- only if they were found negligent in some way and that certainly wasn't the case here," said Terry Josephson, from the city's water and waste department.
The city said it's in the process of replacing all the metal pipes in the water main system, starting with the ones in the worst shape, or those nearing the end of their lifespan, but it will take the next 50 years to upgrade all of them.
The one that broke on Notre Dame Avenue was not on the list to be replaced in 2011.
The metal pipes make up about 25 per cent of Winnipeg's water main system, with the oldest ones installed in the late 1800s. Officials said $15 million has been spent in the last 10 years to slow down corrosion until the pipes are replaced.
Upgrades are slated for pipes in 50 locations in 2011, including some in Transcona, River Heights and St. James.
City officials said there are fewer water main breaks than there used to be.
Ten years ago, there were more than 2,000 reported, while in 2010, there were 328 reported, said city officials.
Coun. Dan Vandal, who is also the chair of the public works committee, wants the city to review its policy because he doesn't think it's fair that people don't get compensation from the city.
Regarding damage caused by water main breaks, the city said insurance companies should cover the costs. Insurance companies, however, don't cover overland flooding, but people are advised to check their policies as damage from a water main break may be covered in some cases.
- with a report from CTV's Caroline Barghout
- to download a map from the city showing the areas with old metal pipes in Winnipeg, please select the link below:Click here to download the file (PDF, 1.05 MB)