On Monday morning, several residents of a south Edmonton condominium complex could be seen carrying empty buckets and bottles towards a water-dispensing truck parked on the street outside the building — only to find it empty.
Two trucks — one parked in the back and the other out front — have been the only sources of water for residents at Laurentian Estates since a water main break six days ago. The complex is at 1452 Lakewood Rd. West in Mill Woods.
"It's pretty frustrating," said Peter Logan, who lives in one of the 78 units, adding that people have to go to work and send their kids to school without running water to bathe, use the toilet, cook or clean. "Going back and forth to get water from these little water tanks that Epcor has set up is ridiculous, it's unacceptable."
Logan, who is a contractor, questioned why it has taken so long to get a crew on site to dig, locate and fix the break so Epcor can turn the water back on.
"They should have been on top of this when it first happened," said Logan, adding it could pose a health risk if people can't wash their hands or disinfect their homes.
While Logan took a trip to his parents' home in St. Albert to do his laundry, other residents have been showering at the homes of family and friends.
KDM Management, which oversees the condominium, said it has arranged a two-week free membership for residents at their choice of four YMCA locations across the city, so they can use the showers and locker room facilities.
Logan said he received a letter informing him he could access the YMCA at 111th St. and 19th Ave., which is a 10-minute drive away and up to 30 minutes for those using transit.
"It's kind of useless to me," said Marie Sugg, who doesn't drive and needs water for her two cats, her dog and her bearded dragon. She said the dispensing truck has run out of water every day.
Linda Goodchild with KDM said Epcor only has five water trucks for the entire city and getting them refilled requires a phone call.
Goodchild said Alberta One-Call workers were on site over the weekend but the broken pipe "could not be in a worse location." The pipe is 20 feet underground, between two buildings and in the same area as other utility lines such as electricity and gas, Goodchild said.
"We do sympathize with all the owners," said Goodchild, acknowledging the inconvenience. "We wish there was more we could do."
Goodchild said a water main break last year left residents without water for seven days but this outage would likely take longer to repair. She estimated the outage would last 10 days in total.