Vancouver operates a 3-1-1 hotline for residents to gain telephone access to municipal services. Although a hotline, 3-1-1 answers in a citizen service center (CSC) and addresses only non-emergency concerns like water quality.

While any plumber in Coquitlam like those of Milani also attends to water quality issues, they’re not really the persons to go to when the problem lies with the city’s sewer system. It raises an interesting question: “When should you call a plumber; and when should you call 3-1-1?” 


A water supply problem reported to the CSC is usually forwarded to the proper response team from the city’s utilities. Unlike private plumbers, these government workers have access to the main and secondary water lines that run underneath the city.

Dial 3-1-1 if your water is brown or cloudy, or if it has a weird taste or smell. Problems with discolored water can be reported through 3-1-1 if the situation persists after the tap has been running for at least 15 minutes. The discoloration could be the result of mineral sediments that were dislodged from inside the pipe during sudden surges or changes in water pressure. Another possible reason could be air in the pipes.

Experts say cloudy water generally does not pose a health threat. However, it can be a concern if you’re in the middle of washing the dishes or doing the laundry.

Don’t forget to ask your neighbors if they’re also experiencing the same thing. It’s possible that the entire water supply system in the neighborhood has the same problem. 


Plumbers in West Vancouver should be brought in for localized problems, or those that affect a single house. Water pressure problems may be attributed to a few maladjustments such as a partially-closed shutoff valve or a faulty water softener. Frozen water pipes, major shifts in water pressure, and excessively hot or cold water are such situations.

Most problems such as frozen pipes might have DIY solutions, though. Using a blow torch is ill-advised as it may start a fire if you’re not careful; a hair dryer will suffice. In addition, leave the tap open for water to flow through the ice. Do these things until the tap delivers water at normal pressure again.

If you’re still confused, you can consult the Vancouver government online for a complete list of water problems they can address. There’s always the right man for the right job. 

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