Frigid weather creates worries for water pipes in city

Cory Hurley
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Crews completed a water distribution system repair on Humber Road Tuesday.

The city was dealing with 22 or 23 frozen or broken water lines in Corner Brook as of Tuesday, but there was fear that the worst could be yet to come.

A cold snap in the region through the early part of this week has council and staff holding their breath, according to Josh Carey.

“The main concern with the cold snap over the next few days is that it is driving the frost deeper into the ground,” the city councillor said. “The deeper the frost goes into the ground, the more at risk we are for frozen water lines.”

People are being asked to let a trickle of water safely run within their properties to prevent freezing.  Carey said it is important this is done in a safe manner — somewhere like a laundry tub —  and that only a small amount is sufficient.

City crews were on Humber Road repairing the water distribution system Tuesday, leaving residents in that area without water for the majority of the day.

Today, the same is happening in the Curling area of the city. Areas that will be without water include a portion of Petries Street and Doman’s Lane, Cooper’s Road, Wareham’s Road, McLeod’s Lane, Stone’s Road, Porter’s Lane, Snook’s Lane, Dawe Place and the Town of Mount Moriah. Petries Street will be closed to traffic from the intersection of Hilliard’s Road to the intersection of O’Connell Drive.

Carey said the breaks and freezes are not a result of aging infrastructure, but a result of a cold winter thus far.

He said the repairs have been taxing on the city’s crews and its budget. It is particularly troublesome, Carey said, for the people who have to go without water as a result of frozen pipes. Some residents have gone as long as 10 days without water, he said.

“That is not acceptable, from a council standpoint” he said. “We are trying to do everything we can to get those lines (thawed) and freed up as quickly as possible.”

The frozen lines are a priority over breaks, because residents still have water with a break. The city has hooked some household water lines into a neighbour’s to get a flow going and to provide drinking water.

Crews have also been using thawing equipment to try to thaw pipes. In some cases, it has required unearthing the pipes to thaw them.

The recent cold snap has also put a stop to some recreational activities in the region — Marble Mountain was shut down Tuesday due to the wind chill and extremely high winds on the slopes. Skiers are encouraged to get updates as to whether there are any disruptions in the days ahead.

Wind chill values of near -36 C were expected overnight and into this morning, and reaching -35 C in the north tonight. A wind chill of -33C is forecasted for today in Corner Brook, with a high of -15 C. The wind chill is expected to drop to -30 C overnight and the temperature to be as low as - 20 C. A high of -13 C is forecasted for Thursday.

Weekend temperatures are expected to be much warmer — reaching as high as -3 C Saturday.


*** Edited Wednesday***

Organizations: Town of Mount Moriah

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Petries Street, Humber Road Curling Hilliard Marble Mountain

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