A Year Without Water in Manitouwadge

by | Feb 7, 2024 | Infrastructure, Ontario, Service Line Responsibilities, Water

Homeowner’s running water is restored, after more than a year, thanks to SLWC Cares Foundation

Julie M. and her husband had a problem at their Manitouwadge, Ontario, home: A geyser of water was erupting out of their driveway.

“We had about two months where the water pressure didn’t seem to be as good,” Julie said. “We thought that maybe something was going on.”

Then water began shooting out of their driveway.

Julie called the township, and local municipal employees were dispatched to her home to figure out why this was happening. Once the water was turned off at the meter, the driveway geyser ebbed, then stilled. The issue was Julie’s water service line, not the township’s water distribution system. It was unwelcome news for Julie, because this news meant it was her responsibility to repair the severely damaged line.

Unfortunately, Julie, a former fire chief, had been injured in a fire nearly a decade before and was dealing with a chronic health issue. Her husband is her full-time caregiver, and the couple had a fixed income and no savings.

“It’s difficult,” she said. “Before, nothing stopped us. If we needed something, we saved and bought things with cash. That’s no longer an option. It’s difficult to make ends meet, let alone to save.”

The first thing Julie did was seek out quotes for the repair, but with a price tag of more than $10,000, it was out of reach. They then turned to organizations specializing in disability and housing aid, but there were no programs to address water service line repairs.

So, without any other options, Julie and her husband spent the next 16 months without running water in their home.

“Our neighbor was absolutely fantastic,” she said. “She was amazing.”

Then her neighbor’s water line failed as well, which led to Julie also finally having her water service line repaired.

When Julie and her husband went to the Township of Manitouwadge office to pay taxes, a township employee asked if they were aware of the repair service plans available through Service Line Warranties of Canada, and they replied that they had enrolled in the sewer service line repair plan.

The township has been offering optional water and sewer service line protection plans to over 1,200 residents since 2016.

“When we had learned about [the sewer repair plan], we signed up right away,” she said. “We didn’t know about it before we had our water trouble. If we had, we would have signed up. For the amount each month, it was completely doable.”

She was then told that SLWC had a charitable arm, SLWC Cares, which provides free home repairs affecting safety, sanitation, and quality of life to qualifying homeowners. Had it not been for the Township of Manitouwadge employee, they would not have known about the SLWC Cares Foundation. Julie decided to try it.

“Council was very pleased to support the programs offered through Service Line Warranties of Canada (SLWC) for the residents of Manitouwadge. I am aware that many households are now signed up for this low-cost and essential warranty service. I am so happy to hear that a local resident was able to have their water service line repaired, at no cost, through their Cares Foundation program. SLWC is a great corporate citizen, and they provide a much-needed service to our residents.”

Jim Moffat, Mayor

Township of Manitouwadge, ON

“Within 20 minutes, I got a call from their representative Tammy, and she was amazing,” Julie said. “She was so gentle and so sweet and never made us feel like we were bad people because of the situation we were in. She’s so good, just natural when dealing with people. It made the experience so much nicer because of how she dealt with us. She never made us feel like we were anything else but a paying customer. We were so comfortable talking to her. She’s just a godsend.”

Julie qualified for the SLWC Cares program, and Ontario-based J. Provost Contracting was dispatched to her home. She was thrilled to realize that her repair, although coming in at $13,000, would be completed quickly.

After more than a year, Julie and her husband now have running water in their home.

“The water is perfect, everything is exactly the way it should be,” Julie said. “You guys did it all to the letter. There are not words to describe what you’ve done for us. We are so appreciative of everything you have done.”