Red Deer city crews worked long hours over the holidays on sewer line repair

Frigid temperatures and aging infrastructure led to overtime repairs

It was cold enough to snap pipe last week, judging by a series of sewer line breaks that kept City of Red Deer staff busy with emergency repairs in frigid temperatures.

Twelve crew members worked 320 hours of overtime dealing with various pipe ruptures, said environmental services manager Tim Ainscough.

“It was really tough on our guys, working in 29, or 30 below… It was hard work, but they’re a great crew and they always make themselves available,” he added.

Because sudden temperature changes cause “issues with frost,” the first sewer break happened in the West Park neighbourhood on Dec. 23. This was followed a few days later by a Dec. 27 incident in Northlands Heavy Industrial Park.

On Dec. 29, line breaks occurred in both Highland Green and Grandview. Ainscough said there actually were two sewer repairs needed in the Grandview neighbourhood, and the more complex one couldn’t get done until Dec. 30.

He believes it helped crews working in the bitter cold over the holidays to feel the public’s gratitude. “Residents in Highland Green and Grandview were bringing out coffees… it’s very positive when residents show their appreciation.”

Although the late December deep freeze was one of the longest cold snaps in recent memory, Ainscough said his department budgets for emergencies, so there’s a contingency to cover overtime pay.

Underground pipes of all eras and materials lie beneath city roads — Ainscough said there’s some pipe from the 1950s, ’60s. “There’s even some that’s 80 years old, or 100.”

While old pipe can weaken, sometimes ground conditions can exacerbate aging, he said. There’s a city program to gradually replace all old cast iron pipes with PVC piping, but will take time to complete.

The Environmental Services department proposed additional funding from the upcoming 2018 operating budget to address aging infrastructure in the Fairview/Riverside Meadows neighbourhoods, which was judged to be most in need of replacement.

Although these neighbourhoods escaped the latest sewer line breaks, Ainscough said “We were lucky this time, but there could be something tomorrow…”

Meanwhile, a water leak has kept Red Deer’s Kinex Arena closed for a second day. The facility that was shut down to the public on Tuesday morning remained closed on Wednesday, but a city spokesperson said it will hopefully reopen on Thursday.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

WATCH: Red Deer’s noxious weeds are a goat’s dietary delight

Piper Creek Community Garden gets chemical-free weed control

Get your guilty pleasures: Westerner Days food

Traditional sugary treats were served up by the plate, bowl and bucket… Continue reading

Centrefest brings feats of daring to Red Deer’s downtown

Fundraising was a tough slog, but it came together in the end

Count shows slight decrease in Red Deer’s homeless

In two years, the number of homeless in Red Deer has decreased… Continue reading

Redoing hip surgeries are costly, says new study

Redoing hip and knee replacements costs Canada’s health system $130 million a… Continue reading

WATCH: Cirque ZUMA ZUMA puts on a show at Westerner Days

ZUMA ZUMA performs three times a day during Westerner Days

Jones’ punt return TD rallies Riders to road victory over Ticats

Roughriders 31 Tiger-Cats 20 HAMILTON — Brandon Bridge kept Dave Watford on… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Red Deer’s Iron Buffalo rocks Westerner Days

Iron Buffalo opened for Helix and Lee Aaron Thursday at the ENMAX Centrium

Zuckerberg’s Holocaust comment puts Facebook on the spot

NEW YORK — Denying the Holocaust happened is probably OK on Facebook.… Continue reading

Brazilian police arrest ‘Dr. Bumbum’ after patient dies

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian police have arrested celebrated plastic surgeon Denis… Continue reading

Canadian marijuana company Tilray has first US pot IPO

SEATTLE — A Canadian company is the first marijuana business to complete… Continue reading

Dolphins anthem punishment includes suspensions

Miami Dolphins players who protest on the field during the national anthem… Continue reading

Soy “milk” makers may need to find alternative description

NEW YORK — Soy and almond drinks that bill themselves as “milk”… Continue reading

Calgary woman convicted in son’s strep death granted day parole

CALGARY — A woman whose son died after she failed to take… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month