Charlottetown's water mains are breaking every week, but that's not unusual

Charlottetown has had a water main break almost every week for the last few months, including one on Wednesday on Colonel Gray Drive.

10 breaks so far in 2018, with an average year in the city having 23

Water main breaks have been occurring about once a week for the last few months in Charlottetown. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

Charlottetown has had a water main break almost every week for the last few months, including one on Wednesday on Colonel Gray Drive.

That's actually about average for the season, according to Richard MacEwen, manager of the water and sewer utility.

In the last couple of decades, the city has averaged about 23 water main breaks a year. So far in 2018, crews have had to tackle 10. MacEwen said 2015 was a record year for water main breaks with 44.

There have been 10 breaks so far in Charlottetown this year, which is about average for the season, according to Richard MacEwen, manager of the water and sewer utility. (Blain Parkman)

He noted the number of breaks is creeping up in recent years as infrastructure ages and freeze/thaw cycles impact the water mains.

Construction work this summer should help in future seasons, MacEwen said. The work includes putting in new pipes and putting pipes inside existing ones.

"It's an ever-evolving process and we not likely to ever eliminate main breaks but we can start to try and minimize them," he said.

The water main break season usually ends by the end of April, or when the frost is out of the ground.

Often get drenched

MacEwen commended the crews who are out every week fixing water main breaks as they often get drenched with water in freezing temperatures outside.

"They're out there taking a shower in sub-zero conditions ... we ask them to try and repair that leak while it's still under pressure, while there's still water coming out of the pipe, that maintains the integrity of the system," he said.

"We are very fortunate to have the great crews that we do have, they're out there in sub-zero conditions and repairing our water mains for us."

With files from Laura Chapin