With some areas measuring as deep as about 9.5 feet, public works director Colin Innes told the Daily Herald earlier this month that he couldn’t remember the last time he heard of such frost depths.
"When you get the thaw (frost) starts to move, and that's when you get the differential settlement and movement in the ground, and of course that's when the water mains decide to break,” he said.
“The cold has allowed the frost to penetrate to the depth of the water mains,” utilities project manager Kevin Callaghan said in a press release. “At this depth, the frost has the potential to cause lines to freeze and can also increase the frequency of breaks when the spring thaw occurs.”
The city anticipates the following three issues will continue to occur over the next two months, until temperatures are warm enough and frost is out of the ground.
Water main breaks -- As spring temperatures cause pipes to expand, water main breaks are expected to continue taking place. If there are no complications, civic crews can repair breaks within 24 hours.
At this depth, the frost has the potential to cause lines to freeze and can also increase the frequency of breaks when the spring thaw occurs. Kevin Callaghan
Frozen catch basins -- Miniature lakes are showing up on streets throughout the city as a result of frozen or plugged-up catch basins. There are 2,569 catch basins in the city and each one can take anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours to thaw, the city reports.
Frozen service lines – In cases where the frost line meets the water service line, freezing can occur, in which case the city will send a crew with specialized equipment to thaw the connection.
Reporting “many employees … working long hours,” the city is asking the public’s patience in responding to these concerns.
Issues can be called in to the city’s public works department, at 953-4900, or the city’s after hours emergency number, 953-4284. Problems can also be posted online through the city’s “report a problem” button, at www.citypa.ca.