Saskatoon sees decrease in water main breaks despite busy 2017

The City of Saskatoon says ongoing repairs to water mains are working, despite seeing over 250 breaks to date in 2017.Yearly, the city invests $14 million for water main replacement, which equates to roughly 7 kilometers of pipe.“We focus on the cast-iron water mains because they lead to other modes of failures,” Russ Munro, the city’s director of water & waste stream, said. “When we do that work, we’re also upping the capacity of the water mains.”Story continues belowThe city says breaks are most often caused by ground-shifting, freezing, and corrosion.  Drastic changes in water pressure in the line have also caused breaks this year, including the break on 25th Street in November.  25th Street was closed for two days due to the break, causing two weeks of repairs and maintenance.  33 properties were affected by full-day water outages in the area so crews could fix and replace valves at six separate locations.“Our objective is to have water pressure restored within 48 hours,” Munro said. “Where there is no service, our level of service is to get a water trailer on site within 8 hours of the disruption.”According to city stats, there were roughly 495 water main breaks in 1979 and around 470 in 1988; the city’s distribution system has grown significantly since then.There have been 268 water main breaks in Saskatoon this year, on track to meet it’s 22-year average of 270 breaks; despite that, the city says it’s seeing an overall decrease.  There were only 183 breaks in 2016, followed by 219 breaks in 2015; both below the 5-year average of 235 breaks.“We’re starting to see a reduction in the disruption to citizens through water main breaks,” Munro said. “Where we can’t fight things like mother nature when the temperature swings up and down, we have crews ready to go and are constantly ready to respond to the water main breaks in the city.”The city maintains more than 1100 kilometers of drinking water pipes and more than 700 kilometers of storm water collection pipes. 

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