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REGINA, SK: NEAR RECORD NUMBER OF WATERMAIN BREAKS IN REGINA DUE TO DRY SHIFTING SOIL, SK
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The City of Regina is dealing with near record levels of water main breaks due to the shifting soil and dry weather. These types of events happen annually in the city and late summer into the fall is peak season. Unusually high temperatures and virtually no rain through the summer has city work crews responding to a greater number of cases.
We spoke with Pat Wilson, Director of Water Works for the City of Regina, who explained that the city's water infrastructure consists of "old cement pipes [in] clay soil." The soil dries out over the summer months and begins to shift, and "the [cement] pipes are not very flexible."
The damage the shifting soil causes is not limited to the water distribution system Wilson said that "this is a problem that Regina home owners are familiar with, they can tell you about basement cracks."
This summer Regina experienced the driest July on record, and there is still little precipitation which may cause additional problems. If there isn't enough of a snowpack in the coming months "this could lead to more leaks and cracks in our secondary break season." which is January through March. Not only does the city have to deal with soil shifting when it is dried out it also has to deal with it when the ground thaws.
Wilson said that for the time being the city is "mostly doing repairs, [though] we do have a Proactive Program," which targets the areas most frequently touched by water main breaks to replace the concrete infrastructure with something modern and more flexible. The city is "behind schedule [on repairs], we are adding additional crews, and should be in a position to catch up in October to November."
At the end of August Regina had 65 active leaks, not to mention well over 100 for the year. In the month of August alone registered 71 new leaks which are nearing the record of 79 set back in 2003.
The city maintains no home will be without water for more than 24 hours and install emergency connections where needed. The situation that has resulted from the extreme weather is not over, and the city "will continue to monitor the situation."
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