Alberta Newspaper Group
There are myriad reasons to dislike the frigid temperatures February 2019 has brought, but while many county residents worry about frost bite, the area’s public service departments are more concerned with its cracks.
It’s not that extreme cold snaps are foreign to southeast Alberta, but when they arrive, water main issues are essentially guaranteed to follow. It’s been no different this month for the public services department in Redcliff, where no customer is immune to a possible problem.
“It’s just part of running a utility and trying to provide water to our customers,” director of public services Cory Popick said. “We’ve had issues with both commercial and residential (during this cold spell.)
“When it gets this cold, you grow frost really quickly. It causes the ground to flex, and when you’ve got items like curb stops that aren’t very strong, it pulls them off their saddle or causes them to slip and crack or break, and then you’ve got a leak.”
There isn’t much residents can do to prevent issues at the point of the main itself, but Popick says there a few things everyone can do to protect the integrity of their service connection to their home or business.
“Make sure your utility doors are open, and they have air movement in their basement,” he said. “If their utility room is quite cold, put a small residual electric heater in there to keep some warmth, especially around their service pipe where it goes into the wall.”
And while it might just feel like the current weather is as bad as it gets, Popick says this particular snap hasn’t caused more problems than normal. He says the department gets one or two calls each week, so even though you can’t do much to stop a water main problem, the likelihood is that the utilities will hold up.
Popick says his department will be there when they don’t.