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Water and Sewer

The City of Woodstock's Water Distribution Department is responsible for the delivery of water to homes, businesses and industrial customers through a network of water mains, 210 kilometres long.  However, the County of Oxford maintains and administers all aspects of water and wastewater.

As part of the maintenance process, there are 980 fire hydrants and 2,650 primary water valves and 910 backflow preventers that are serviced on a yearly basis.

How We Get Our Water

The County of Oxford has 7 wells in the Sweaburg Road area and 3 wells within Woodstock.

Water is pumped out of the ground and flows into Woodstock from the well field by gravity and pressure through 4 pipelines. These pipelines move the water to the pumping plant in Southside Park.

At the water plant, the water is chlorinated for purification and pumped under pressure of about 80 pounds per square inch or 550 Kilopascals into the city's water distribution system.

Drinking Water Quality Management Policy

The Woodstock Drinking Water Distribution System is owned by Oxford County and operated by the City of Woodstock Office of the City Engineer - Public Works Department. Both the Owner and Operating Authority are committed to the objectives outlined below in the Oxford County Drinking Water Quality Management Policy:

  • Providing its customers with safe, potable drinking water in the interest of protecting public health.
  • Providing drinking water that consistently meets or exceeds regulatory requirements.
  • Participating in appropriate research of Best Management Practices to enhance our understanding of drinking water quality issues and optimize performance.
  • Promoting sound relationships with our customers, stakeholders, regulators and employees and integrating their needs and expectations into our planning.
  • As a minimum, meeting the requirements of all applicable legislation and regulations.

Oxford County Public Works will implement and maintain a Drinking Water Quality Management System as outlined by the Ontario Ministry of Environment & Climate Change. All managers and employees involved in the supply of drinking water are responsible for understanding, implementing, maintaining and continually improving the Drinking Water Quality Management System.

Water / Wastewater Billing

ERTH Solutions has been contracted to oversee and set up billing for water and wastewater services in Woodstock as of February 2016. Previous to this, Woodstock residents were billed for this service on their Woodstock Hydro bill.

ERTH Solutions has been servicing Oxford County as it's billing agent for various communities since 2000. ERTH Solutions currently billing services to more than 120,000 customers in 17 communities. It has been providing utility and municipal solutions for many years throughout Ontario.

Setting Up Your Billing Account

You may contact ERTH Solutions by phone at 1-877-485-6050 or by email.

ERTH Solutions offers several convenient ways to pay for your water and wastewater bill. Payment options include:

  • In-person payment dropped off at your bank (in-person payments will not be accepted at Woodstock Hydro or ERTH Solutions offices),
  • Cheque (through Canada Post) and mailed to the address on your bill,
  • Pre-authorized payment (PAP) by enrolling using the on-line form, and
  • Telephone or on-line banking. Most financial institutions accept payments.

Billing Account Issues

For high water bills or changes required to your billing account please contact ERTH Solutions.

Water/Wastewater Rates

Water and wastewater rates are set by the County of Oxfords. To find out more information about these rates, bylaws and how to calculate your rate follow the link to the County's website.

Notices

none at this time

Water Restrictions - May 1 to September 30

Residential Outside Water Use

Whether your watering your lawns and gardens, washing your vehicle(s) or power washing your deck, driveway or house, the County of Oxford external water use bylaw has limited the use of municipal water outside only to 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., and 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. as follows:

Even numbered calendar days: Addresses ending with even numbers (0, 2, 4. 6, 8) may use water on calendar days ending in even numbers.

Odd numbered calendar days: Addresses ending with odd numbers (1, 3. 5. 7, 9) may use water on calendar days ending in odd numbers.

Industrial and Commercial Outside Water Use

The County of Oxford external water use bylaw limits the water use only to 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. using the same even or odd numbered addresses to even or odd calendar days.

Water Exemption Permit

Residents may apply for an exemption certificate for such things as fund raising activities, swimming pool fills, new sod and seed, automatic sprinklers and outside renovations. Enquiries may be made to the City Engineer's Office at 944 James Street, Woodstock or by calling 519-539-2382 ext. 3104 or 3102 during regular office hours, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Watermain Break Repairs

Underground watermains can break and flood streets and private property. These breaks should be reported as quickly as possible. If you suspect a watermain break has occurred, please call us at 519-539-2382 ext. 3120.

Please be aware, if water in your area needs to be turned off due to a watermain break you will receive little to no notice.  Once water is restore, you may notice brown or cloudy water following a watermain break.  If this is the case, you will need to run your cold water tap closest to the water meter until it becomes clear.

Curb Stop Valves

A curb stop is a valve which is installed to turn water services on and off to a building.  It is located either on your lawn or driveway. The curb stop will raise or lower due to temperature changes. If you need the curb stop lowered or raised, please contact the Water Department at 519-539-2382 ext. 3120.

In addition, if you notice a leaking water pipe in your home, please call the Water Department and we will turn the valve off at the curb. You may be required to call a plumber for further assistance.

Bulk Water Stations

The County of Oxford has four bulk water dispensing stations. They are located at:

  • Sutherland Park Water Treatment Facility - 651 Sutherland Drive in Woodstock Ontario,
  • Pitcher Street Water Treatment Facility - 6 Pitcher Street in Norwich Ontario,
  • Canterbury Street Water Treatment Facility - 280 Harris Street in Ingersoll Ontario, and 
  • Hendershot Street Water Distribution Shop - 18 Hendersonshot Street in Tavistock Ontario.

The discharge pipe at each location is equipped with a 75mm camlock hose connection. Only top-filling tanks are permitted and the hose must be clean and dedicated to water use only.

You will need to obtain a key fob from Oxford County, not from the City. Please call Oxford County Customer Service at 519-539-9800 and dial zero for assistance.  More information, such as pre-pay accounts and water rates, may be found on the County's website.

Recreational Vehicles (RV) Wastewater Drop-off

Woodstock's Waste Water Treatment Plant, which is managed by the County of Oxford, is located at 195 Admiral Street. You must call a head or make arrangements, as staff may have the gate closed when working inside the facility. Please call 519-537-8531. Facility hours are Mondays to Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  There is no charge for this service.

Frozen Water Filling Services

In extremely cold temperatures, it is possible for poorly insulated or shallow water services to freeze. You may notice this through a drop in water pressure or there may be no water at all. It is also possible for the water meter itself to freeze, which can damage the meter.

If you feel there is a risk of your water service freezing, running a water tap continuously (cold water stream of approximately 1/4 inch thickness) may help prevent freezing.  Please note this will increase your water usage effecting your water bill. The homeowner is responsible for water usage charges.

What do I do if I think my water service is frozen?

Internal Issue

First you need to determine if it is your indoor plumbing that has frozen by running different cold water taps throughout your house. If more than one has running water while other don't, the issue is likely internal and you will need to contact a licensed plumber for assistance.

External Issue

If you find that all water service to your home has stopped, or you aren't sure where the problem is, contact the City of Woodstock (Office hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30a.m. to 4:30p.m.) at 519-539-2382 ext. 3120 or 3105 or after-hours at 519-539-2382 ext. 3120.

The City will work with you to determine where the cause of the frozen service is located. Should we experience a high volume of calls, investigations may be delayed a few days. We request your patience as we respond to this emerging issue.

If you are a tenant, your landlord must contact the City about issues with water services. Please contact your landlord if you are having problems with frozen water service.

Precautions

  • Don't use a torch with an open flame to thaw pipes, as this is a fire hazard.
  • Ensure you know the location of your master water shut-off valve. The frozen pipe may be broken and when the water in it thaws, it will leak. If the pipe is broken, you will need to shut off the water in your house until the pipe is repaired.

Steps to thaw a frozen pipe

  • If you have a history of frozen pipes or your water is currently frozen, turn on a tap in the basement, preferably the cold water faucet in the laundry room.
  • Keep the pipes warm by opening basement, cellar or cupboard doors. Insulate the pipes and take action to prevent freezing in the future years. If possible and can be done safely, heat the area.
  • Watch for leaks where the pipe froze. Expanding ice may have cracked or broke your pipe. You can use your water meter to watch for household leaks.

Who is responsible for water service lines?

It is the responsibility of the property owner to maintain and/or replace the portion of the water service located within the building and between the building and the property line. The City is responsible for the service located between the property line and the watermain. If freezing occurs on the private side of the property line, the City may charge the homeowner for the cost to restore water service.

Why has my water service frozen?

Most water services are buried deeply for protection against frost. Older water service lines were historically installed at a shallow depth by today's standards. Extremely cold temperatures, or fluctuations between cold and warm temperatures can sometimes push frost to a depth that will freeze water services. Extreme cold temperatures can also cause internal freezing where service would not normally be interrupted.

How can I reduce the risk of frozen water service pipes?

The majority of calls received for frozen water pipes and water meters are a result of inadequate heating and cold air drafts where piping is located in the home.

  • Insulate pipes most susceptible to freezing. (e.g. near outside walls, crawl spaces and attics)
  • Insulate all exposed outside water pipes with specially designed foam pipe covers available at most building supply and home improvement stores.
  • Open kitchen, bathroom and laundry cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Take care to remove household cleaners and other items that could harm children or pets when doors are open.
  • Seal air leaks in your home and garage and keep garage doors closed if there is a water supply line in the garage.
  • Disconnect and drain all outdoor faucets.
  • If you will be away, you can shut off the main service valve in your basement and open all taps to drain the water out of your plumbing lines to prevent them from freezing. Have someone check your home regularly.
  • Commercial water customers need to prepare for cold nights as well. Protect water lines by wrapping all lines exposed to cold temperatures.

How can I correct frozen pipe problems permanently?

If your water service line has frozen in the past, and the frozen portion was located on your property, the best solution is to lower your service line to a depth that cannot be penetrated by frost. The City requires new service lines to be buried at a depth of 1.5m or 5ft as a minimum. Property owners can contact the City for more information.

Blocked or Broken Sewers

Woodstock residences are responsible for the cost to clear and repair any blockages in their lateral sewers running from their property all the way to the city's main sewer in the street.  If you experience a blocked sewer or sewer back up, you will need to contact a plumber to assist in clearing the blockage.  Please note, the City does not clear blocked sewers lines.

If your plumber is not able to clear it on the first attempt, he must try again until the blockage is cleared.  Only after the plumber has made all possible attempts to clear the blocked sewer, the City will inspect the main sewer line on the street to see if there is a blockage in the sanitary line in the street.  More often than not, the blockage is between the house and the street, which is the residents responsibility for clearing.  You may contact the Office of the City Engineer at 519-539-2382 ext. 3104 or 3102 to make arrangements with the Works Supervisor to camera out the line to see if there is any infrastructure issues with the santary line.  View the responsibility chart for information on who is responsible for various types of conditions to the sewer lateral.  Please note, there may be applicable and after hours fees, which is at the discretion of the Works Supervisor.

City Tree Roots

If a sewer blockage is caused by roots from a city tree, your plumber must contact us to inspect the site to determine if tree roots are the cause of the blockage. If it is determined that city tree roots are the cause, you may be eligible for a rebate of the amount of your invoice or up to $175, or half of the plumber's paid invoice, depending on where the tree and roots are found.  We must be notified and inspect the site when roots are being removed. See responsibility chart link above for more information.

Excavating a Sewer Lateral

In the case of excavation of the sewer lateral, you or your contractor must expose the lateral sewer at the property line and contact us immediately to confirm the cause of the problem. Contractors or homeowners are not permitted to excavate within the city road allowance without receiving prior approval. Contact our Engineering Technologist for information on permits required if excavating on the city right-of-way either by email or phone at 519-539-2382 ext. 3114.

Curb Cut Excavation Permit Application Form

If the lateral is collapsed or broken on the road allowance and is confirmed by an authorized city official, we will cover the total cost of the repair within the road allowance.

Note that just because a blockage is created on city property, it does not necessarily guarantee that we will cover the cost to resolve the problem. An authorized city official will determine who is responsible for the bill.

Tips on avoiding blocked sewer lines

Using common sense will reduce the risk of sewage backfills and cost repairs.

  • Don't pour grease down the toilet or any sink.  Eventually, this liquid hardens around the pipe restricting water flow and increasing the chances for a blockage.  Instead, dispose cooking grease into an old coffee can or milk carton and dispose of it in your household garbage.
  • Don't flush inappropriate items. These items do not breakdown and will eventually lead to the whole line being blocked. 
  • Clear off you dinner plate first before rincing it.  Larger food particles will collect in the drain over time if there is not enough water flow to carry them away.
  • Use a drain grate to help catch any small items that may eventually lead to a blockage. i.e.: hair, small toys, small lids, etc.

Documents

A copy of the watermain specifications design and guidelines document is found on the Oxford County's website. Follow the link to their Water and Wastewater webpage.

Contact Us

© 2017 City of Woodstock P.O. Box 1539, 500 Dundas Street, Woodstock, ON N4S 0A7

 

Phone: 519-539-1291
TTY: 519-539-7268
Email: General Information

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