Recent water main break sign of Sudbury's aging infrastructure

Water is flowing again to hundreds of homes in the Naughton and Whitefish area after City of Sudbury crews spent the weekend fixing a water main break in the only pipe that runs to the area.

Insurance companies putting limits on sewer backup coverage

Water is flowing again to hundreds of homes in the Naughton and Whitefish area after City of Sudbury crews spent the weekend fixing a water main break in the only pipe that runs to the area.

Sudbury — like many cities — is dealing with aging water and wastewater infrastructure.

But it's not just a problem for the city.

A water main break in the pipe that goes to Naughton and Whitefish, west of Sudbury, cut off water to residents in the area. Crews worked on a installing a temporary pipe to get water flowing again. (Megan Thomas/CBC)

It’s also causing headaches for people trying to get home insurance.

The president of Cambrian Insurance in Sudbury said some companies have put limits on their sewer backup coverage because claims are costing too much. Other insurance companies are contemplating higher premiums.      

“I think the city of Sudbury has done its … best … over the years to try to update the infrastructure,” Jim Smith said. “I am not sure that the physical size of the pipes is adequate.”

He noted it “would be awfully difficult for any city to replace its infrastructure with a much larger one that can handle some of these changing weather patterns and the size of some of these storms that we are getting.”

Sudbury’s director of water and wastewater services agrees that aging infrastructure and corrosion tends to be the culprit when problems arise.

“We see a relationship between age and weather settlement and the soil and that type of thing,” Nick Benkovich said.

Smith said insurance companies are also responding to an increase in the number of extreme storm events, such as the flooding in Alberta that caused used billions of dollars in damage.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.