Winter: ‘tis the season for water main breaks in HE

By James Matthews
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Despite a significant Boxing Day water main break, Highlands East council has faith in the Cardiff drinking water system’s integrity.

During its Jan. 19 public meeting, township council heard about a “significant” water main break that disrupted service Dec. 26 to Hemlock Street residents.

Brittany McCaw, the town’s deputy CAO/treasurer, said staff were able to locate the break and isolate a portion of the system rather quickly.

The firm McInroy Maines was contacted on the day of the break and completed the repair with staff from the town’s Environment department.

A boil water advisory was in effect but has since been lifted.

Councillor Cam McKenzie said staff performed really well in getting the water main repaired.

“I know it’s not going to be a cheap fix,” he said. “But I think it was important for the residents who were impacted that our staff were able to get that organized and get it done with minimum disruption.”

Deputy Mayor Cecil Ryall said the water system in question was installed just seven years ago. He questioned whether the whole system should be revisited.

“Is this a sign of things to come?” he said. “Are we looking at the beginning of a lot of challenges in the system?”

He suggested the whole municipal water system be inspected and assessed.

McCaw said water main breaks and subsequent repairs occur throughout the year. Basically, it’s a fact of life. Warm weather followed by a fast freeze can cause a pipe to break, she said.

“We can actually go back and ask staff to review the last few years of the number of breaks,” she said. “It’s actually information that is contained within our annual reporting.”

McKenzie said the new system is an improvement over the old one. Public Works staff are probably getting only a quarter of the calls for repairs that had been received before the new system was put in.

“That’s just a guess,” he said. “But it used to happen on a really, really re-occurring basis. Now, maybe two (calls) a year. It isn’t like it used to be.”