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Saskatoon sees decrease in water main breaks despite busy 2017

Multiple water main breaks in Saskatoon have been caused by a quick drop in the temperature.
The city has reported over 250 water main breaks in 2017, including one on 25th St that closed the road for 2 days. Neil Fisher / Global News

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 seven kilometers of pipe.

READ MORE: Quick temperature drop causes multiple water main breaks in Saskatoon

“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.”

Officials said water main 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, closing the street for two days, and causing two weeks of repairs and maintenance.

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Thirty-three 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 eight 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 five-year average of 235 breaks.

WATCH BELOW: Russ Munro from the City of Saskatoon explains the three most common ways water main breaks occur and the repair measures

How Saskatoon is dealing with water main breaks
How Saskatoon is dealing with water main 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.”

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The city maintains more than 1,100 kilometers of drinking water pipes and more than 700 kilometers of storm water collection pipes.