Help runs dry for woman with no water

Josh Pennell
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It’s pretty hard to keep a grooming business afloat without running water, but that’s exactly the challenge one St. John’s woman is facing.

Arlene Chafe owns Arlene’s Pet Grooming on Major’s Path. A week ago, she came into work and turned on her tap.


Assuming it was a frozen pipe, she called in a plumber, who spent five hours blasting her waterline with hot water.

About 60 feet out, the plumber hit something he couldn’t get through.

“That put me out on the other side of Major’s Path,” Chafe says. “He didn’t think that it was ice. He thought he never hit ice.”

The water he was spraying into the line was coming back warm and not cool or cold like the plumber expected for breaking through ice, Chafe says.

The plumber told her to call the city.

“They say that because I’m a business, it rests completely on my shoulders financially to fix,” says Chafe.

The city told her she is responsible for her waterline right up to the water main which is on the other side of Major’s Path. She says the cost to dig that up and then repatch it will run into the tens of thousands of dollars. She is in a residential zone, having turned a bungalow into her pet grooming business. Still, the city says because it’s a business, this is all on her dime.

Chafe has been told by several people in the know that with the deep cold recently and the sporadic slight warmups, the ground has likely heaved and pinched her waterline. Nobody else in her neighbourhood that she knows of is having water problems.

Meanwhile, she’s trying to run a grooming business without the main component she needs to clean animals.

“My business now has been cut down to not even a third of what I can do or was doing,” she says.

She’s still weighing her options on what she can do.

The City of St. John’s wasn’t able to comment on this situation as of deadline.

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Recent comments

  • Herry
    March 20, 2014 - 09:55

    I will NEVER ever live or visit St. Johns ! City clowncil are a bunch of USELESS IDIOTS ! All small businesses should pack up and move somewhere else. It's blatantly obvious the city could care less about supporting small business . Lazy shxxbags work for a shxxhole !!!!!