2014 Water Works Operations

Unprecedented frost depths this year are causing a number of issues relating to the City's underground water collection and distribution system. Lengthy periods of extremely cold temperatures have made typical conditions worse. The unusually cold winter has allowed the frost to penetrate to the depth of the water mains. At this depth, the frost has the potential to cause lines to freeze and can also increase the frequency of breaks when the spring thaw occurs. The following is a summary of the issues currently being dealt with. It is expected that these issues could continue until mid-May when temperatures are warm enough and the frost is out of the ground.

Related Announcements:

Shower Facilities at Kinsmen Water Park to Close Thursday (April 17)
City Opens Shower Facilities At Kinsmen Water Park For Residents Without Water
City Asking for Patience and Cooperation While Record Number of Water Works Issues Are Resolved
City Crews Respond to Growing Number of Water Works Issues

Frozen Service Lines
As of Monday, April 7, there have been 94 reported frozen service lines (15 is the average). 9 of the 94 require thawing.  

A service connection is the line that connects a house to the City's main water supply. In the winter, frost enters the ground and, depending on winter weather  temperatures, soil conditions, pipe material, pipe age, amount of water used, etc,. the water in the service connection can freeze. In these cases, the City will send a crew with specialized equipment to thaw the connection. If this does not work, then the service line will need to be dug up and thawed manually.

To report a frozen service line please call (306) 953-4900 or send an email through Report a Problem.

Water Main Breaks
As of Monday, April 7, there have been 40 reported Water Main Breaks (20 is the average). 1 of 40 require repair.        

Cold temperatures in the winter cause water mains to contract and in the spring, warmer temperatures cause pipes to expand. In some cases, particularly in the case of  cast iron pipes where there is very little flexibility, this is enough to cause a break in the water main. Water main breaks are experienced throughout the winter but are  often the worst during the spring because the temperature change is more rapid, causing more simultaneous breaks. If there are no complications, a water main break  can usually be repaired within 24 hours. Some water main breaks are more complicated and, in some cases, it can take several days to repair. For more information  about what to expect during a water main break please see the Water Services Disruptions FAQs.

To report a water main break, please call (306) 953-4900 or send an email through Report a Problem. If it is after hours or on a weekend, please call the emergency 
line at (306) 953-4284.

Frozen Catch Basins
As of Tuesday, April 22, 224 frozen catch basins have been reported. 30 of 224 require thawing.
Catch Basins can be reported to Public Works at 953-4900. With Water Main Breaks and Frozen Service Lines under control, the City will be focusing greater attention on Frozen Catch Basins. To start, the priority will be the ones that threaten property.

This is another issue dealt with each spring. Catch basins freeze up, which stops water from draining properly. In these cases, water will start to pool on city streets.  There are 2,569 catch basins in Prince Albert, and each one can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours to thaw. Water pooling on a street could be an indication of  a frozen catch basin. To report a frozen catch basin please call (306) 953-4900 or send an email through Report a Problem.

City Crews and Contractors
Crews are working the maximum number of permitted hours (16 hours per day), 7 days a week, and seasonal crews have been called in early. The City has hired local contractors to provide some assistance (much of the work requires specialized thawing equipment which means contracted services are only able to provide limited assistance).

Order of response
All services are responded to on a priority basis. Issues that threaten safety and property are handled first, those that affect schools, care homes and daycares are responded to second followed by businesses that rely on water services. All other properties are then responded to in the order in which they were called in.

Shower Facilities
Shower facilities will no longer be available effective Thursday, April 17 at 7:00pm. Please see the media release above for details.
The Kinsmen Water Park (corner of 28th Street and 1st Avenue West) will be open for residents to access shower facilities starting on Monday, March 31st. The facility will be open from 7am to 7pm daily. Residents will be required to show ID and give their name and address. Parents of minor children are advised to provide gender appropriate supervision for their children when utilizing the communal shower facilities.

Drinking Water
Arrangements have been made to deliver water to properties that are affected. Those that require more to be delivered can contact (306) 953-4900.

Report New Issues
The City is still encouraging people to report new issues to the Public Works Department at 306.953.4900 or by email through the website's Report a Problem feature. All reports are being tracked and will be responded to on a priority basis and the order they were called in (please see order of response above.)

It is expected that these issues could be ongoing until mid-May when temperatures are warm enough and frost is out of the ground.

Water Division - Public Works Department
City of Prince Albert
1084 Central Avenue
Prince Albert, SK
S6V 7P3

Phone:  306.953.4900