The City of Lethbridge is assuring residents it is acting provocatively to prevent water main break, which are much more common during colder months. Jeff Koshuta, water and wastewater operations manager says while breaks happen all year, they are more frequent between November and February. They can be caused by various things, such as aging infrastructure, sudden operating pressure changes or sudden changes to soil temperature.
“Repairs in the winter months do present additional challenges to crews, specifically when providing adjacent residents with temporary water services and these repairs do generally take a lot longer in the winter than they do in the summer months,” he says. “These guys do a fantastic job out there in this cold weather. The challenges are cutting through the frozen asphalt and working with the frozen material, traffic accommodation this time of year is difficult as well.”
Koshuta says the city saw about 25 water main breaks this year and 35 in 2021. The amount of breaks has been trending down and he says he believes part of this is due to proactive measures.
“We try to replace approximately two kilometres of pipe each year. Most of the pipe that is replaced is older cast iron pipes that are found in older neighbourhoods. This makes about nine per cent of our distribution system or about 57 kilometers,” he says.
Water main breaks are unexpected and hard to avoid, but Koshuta says it is important for residents to call 311 if they notice water pooling on roads or a sudden drop in water pressure at home.