TRURO/BIBLE HILL, N.S. – Truro’s Public Works crews were scrambling Tuesday morning to locate a break in the town’s water system as residents in downtown Truro and Bible Hill reported having little to no water pressure.
“We had a break somewhere in the low side of our system, which extends though all of the downtown area, out through Robie Street and into Bible Hill,” said Andrew MacKinnon, Public Works Director for Truro.
“Basically, the area of town that is fed by the old mains coming down from Victoria Park – which is everything that is not on the hills – somewhere in that system we had a major break we were having a hard time finding.”
Eventually crews narrowed it down to an older water main that runs beneath Salmon River. It was shut off at both ends, and water was recirculated through a newer secondary main while they tried to rebuild pressure in the system.
While Bible Hill will still have access to town water, it is unknown how long it will take to fix the main under the river.
“The actual pipe repair may have to be delayed until the province allows us to work in the river,” said MacKinnon.
“There is a lot of work left to be done by the crews yet. As breaks like this happen, we get air in the system, so our crews will continue to work long hours to try and get the air out and replenish the water pipes in an orderly fashion so we don’t have future problems.”
While water main breaks aren’t uncommon during the winter, this year has been harsh on the town’s water system, as an early cold snap in December that brought temperatures well below freezing caused three main breaks during the holidays.
“Every winter is different,” said MacKinnon.
“A lot of water breaks are caused by the ground pressure changing as frost is driven into the ground. Some winters, if the frost slowly goes into the ground, we won’t have many breaks, but where the frost went in quick we had a lot of breaks this year.”
With frost being driven into the ground much quicker than previous years, there is a possibility the town could see more main breaks as the ground pressure continually changes from fluctuating temperatures.
“If it just stayed cold, then we may have been good until the spring when the frost started coming out of the ground,” said MacKinnon.
“I’m hoping the weather will establish itself, even out, and show a little mercy on our system.”