March 5, 2019 9:52 pm
Updated: March 5, 2019 9:54 pm

Frost, frigid temperatures in Lethbridge caused 20 water main leaks in February

A prolonged cold stretch in Lethbridge is creating problems for city infrastructure and with warmer weather on the horizon, homeowners may need to start making preparations for melting snow. Matt Battochio reports.


February was brutally cold throughout many areas in Canada, including in Lethbridge, where the city experienced historically low temperatures.

READ MORE: Freezing temperatures add pressure to Lethbridge infrastructure

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“The February of 2019 was the second-coldest February recorded for Lethbridge. The records in Lethbridge go back to 1886. The average temperature in Lethbridge throughout February was -19.5, which compares to a normal average of -6.1 in February, so over 13 degrees colder than normal for the entire month of February,” said Environment and Climate Change Canada meteorologist Kyle Fougere.

The City of Lethbridge’s Water and Wastewater Department says frost is so deep in the ground that it’s impacting fittings and pipes, leading to a significant number of water main leaks in the past month.

“This is the most I’ve ever seen in my decade here,” said City of Lethbridge waste and wastewater operations manager Adam Campbell. “The strange thing about it is it’s happening in places where we typically haven’t had problems before. I believe we’re up to about 20 in February, which is unheard of, typically, when you look at our current average of about 40 a year.”

A warming trend is expected to sweep through the city over the next week, but melting snow could lead to a new set of problems for homeowners.

“We’re on a soil called expansive clay here in Lethbridge,” explained Galko Homes president Bruce Galts. “It can absorb water and swell and move your house around a little bit and can cause some minor drywall cracking, that type of thing.”

READ MORE: Hamilton shivering under another cold weather alert

Galts says Lethbridge homeowners would be wise to move snow a few feet away from their home and clear down spouts in an effort to help melting snow drain away from their homes.

As for the water main leaks, there were seven active in Lethbridge on Tuesday afternoon, including two that closed the Servus Sports Centre and Labor Club Ice Centre.

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