Crews work 16-hour days to fix lines

Tyler Clarke
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Racking up a lot of hours, three private contractors have joined civic crews in tackling the city’s springtime infrastructure woes.

As of 8 a.m. on Monday crews had repaired 55 frozen service lines, with 39 homes still without water.

The annual average of frozen service lines is 15.

So far, 40 water main breaks have been responded to and repaired -- about double the annual average.

“We’ve made some excellent headway there,” public works director Colin Innes said, noting that more work remains on the horizon. “I think we’re all hoping for spring!”

The last big surge of frozen service lines happened when temperatures jumped above freezing, Innes said, noting that with temperatures forecast to rise considerably over the weekend, crews are bracing themselves for the worst.

It’s hard to say why there were more frozen service lines when temperatures were warmer, he said, adding that it’s something that they’ll try to figure out prior to next year’s spring thaw.

“Initially when this started we thought that it would have been water main breaks that kept us the busiest, but it’s really been the frozen services that have been the standout issue,” he said.

Crews have been working some long hours, Innes said, noting that there’s a 16-hour limit on how long civic crewmembers can work -- a limit they’ve routinely been meeting.

“We’re making a real dent in the list, so it’s giving everybody a little bit of extra energy,” Innes said.

“We’ve done that lots where we have to actually have to shut things down because they’re going to hour-out.

“They’re interacting with the people who are without water, and I think they want to get everybody up and running – I haven’t heard any complaints.”

Initially when this started we thought that it would have been water main breaks that kept us the busiest, but it’s really been the frozen services that have been the standout issue Colin Innes

Private contractors have joined civic crews on taking care of the various infrastructure problems this year’s particularly harsh spring thaw has created.

“There are other things that go on other than water main breaks and frozen services,” Innes explained.

“Our main focus has been on fixing water breaks and fixing frozen lines that we thought that would be a good thing where they can fix those types of things as well.”

Civic crews are committed to repairing as many frozen service lines as possible prior to reaching the weekend’s warm temperatures, Innes said.

In the interim, those 39 households of people left without water have been invited to use the shower facilities at the Kinsmen Water Park and the city has been providing additional fresh water.

Problems can be reported to the city's public works department at 953-4900, online through the city's "report a problem" option at, or through their after-hours emergency line, at 953-4284.

Water main breaks are top priority, Innes said, encouraging anyone who spots water gushing from the ground to call the city as soon as possible.

“As long as the water’s moving you’re in good shape, but as soon as you have everything sitting it allows it to freeze up,” Innes said, adding that if water main breaks are repaired quickly they might prevent more frozen service lines. 

Geographic location: Kinsmen Water Park

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