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Town is seeing fewer water breaks

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The number of water breaks in the Town of The Pas has been lower in recent years.
That was the information revealed by data given to the Opasquia Times from the Town last month. The Town had suffered a decrease in the number of breaks following a disastrous 2014, where a record number of breaks during one of the coldest winters in decades was recorded.
That year 59 water breaks, or over one per week, were recorded by the Town. That number dwarfs the total number of water breaks in the three plus years since, with 15 being recorded in 2015, a low of 13 in 2016 and a slight uptick to 16 last year.
So far in 2018 eight have been recorded according to Sam Mirza, Town of The Pas Municipal Superintendent.
The decrease can be attributed to a variety of factors but Mirza nodded his head toward the fact the winter of 2014 was especially harsh as a main reason why that year was so high.
“The winter of 2014 was just brutal so that just pushed our average way above normal,” said Mirza.
While winter is a main culprit with frost driving deep into the ground, something that can not only cause pipes to freeze but also to shift when the frost comes back out of the ground in the spring, other issues can result in a break in a line, including the Town’s own water line flushing program, where high pressure water is pushed through the pipes in an effort to remove buildup of minerals and other sediment. The pressure can cause an area where a problem already is occurring to manifest itself in a more significant way.
The total number of breaks likely won’t be impacted significantly by the Larose Avenue renewal project. While the surface street is still in need of repairs, the water and sewer lines underneath were completed last year. Despite the change Mirza estimated only one event per year was located along Larose Avenue and those weren’t limited to just water breaks.
The lower number does of course mean cost savings to the Town, with the Town’s engineering department pegging the cost of repairing a water break at $10,000 on average when such estimates were last compiled in 2016. That number can vary significantly depending on the number of holes needing to be dug, if the excavation and repair takes one or more days, and how much landscaping and asphalting needs to be done afterward. The location of the break as well as efforts to ensure workers are provided a safe area to work in are also factors into the cost.
While 2014 was considered a high number, the Town hasn’t returned to the numbers recorded prior to that either, with 35 breaks having been noted in 2013 as well.

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Trent Allen
EDITOR
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