Last month was a record month when it came to watermain breaks.
There were 18 breaks in the month of February, which is a record for that month since the city began tracking monthly records. With that cold weather for a long period of time comes the deep frost that settled in over the city.
Darrin Stephanson, manager of utilities for the City of Moose Jaw, said that there were 18 breaks in February and 48 overall since the beginning of November.
“It’s very very deep this year,” he said. “We’ve been seeing that for quite some time. A lot of the fractures we’re seeing in the pipe are frost-related.”
Over the course of a winter, the city will have one crew assigned to doing repairs on the broken watermains, but another crew can be added onto that if the situation gets too busy for the first crew.
And the cold weather also has an effect on the crews and their equipment.
“The frost being very hard, obviously it’s very hard on the equipment and that does lead to breakdowns,” Stephanson said. “We do deal with equipment issues in these temperatures that can sometimes delay that.”
The temperatures are going to rise but that won’t mean the deeper part of the frost will be thawed quite yet. We may not be out of the woods yet when it comes to the frost causing watermain breaks.
“We’re going to need to see some pretty significant temperatures start to thaw out that ground,” Stephanson said. “Until that thawed ground gets down to the layer where the frost is, the frost will continue to move deeper because it’s so cold at that depth.