Penticton experiencing higher than normal number of water main breaks - InfoNews

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Penticton experiencing higher than normal number of water main breaks

FILE PHOTO - City work crews repair a water main break on Westminster Avenue in December 2016. Penticton has experienced a higher than normal number of water main breaks this year, due to several factors.
January 25, 2017 - 4:30 PM

PENTICTON - It’s been a tough winter for Penticton’s Public Works Department as they deal with water main breaks in the city’s 195 kilometres of water lines.

Public Works Manager Len Robson says the city is experiencing more water main breaks than usual, with 14 breaks since early November, 2016.

The cold conditions the South Okanagan has been subjected to this season has added additional challenges to the city as the frost depth plunged to more than a metre deep in some places.

Robson says the deeper frost makes it more difficult for city crews to find the point of failure in the water main.

He says the failures are attributable to a number of different factors, including colder temperatures, frost levels, pipe material and the city’s aging infrastructure.

Water mains often fail as a result of internal or external corrosion, but this year’s colder weather has put additional strain on the infrastructure as the ground swells and contracts with increased frost depth, resulting in excessive pressure on the pipe.

Water mains are more likely to fail when frost penetrates deep into the ground, usually from late December until March, although other extreme conditions can also result in failure, including hot, dry summers, or unusually wet summers.

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