There has been a heavier than usual presence of Aquatera crews downtown Grande Prairie over the last couple of weeks. Crews have found a trio of leaks from a pipe under 99 Avenue downtown.
Aquatera Chief Operating Officer Lora Brenan says they were made aware of the problem on March 3rd, and what was initially diagnosed as a single leak turned into a full-scale repair.
“One of the things that is [of] concern with the pipe along there is that it’s actually very old. It was the 1940s [when] it was installed… and it’s a material that is quite brittle,” she explains.
Brenan says crews first repaired the leak over the weekend and when they began pressure tests they determined that another two leaks had sprung up further down the line.
“If there’s any disruption of the soil around it, and the compaction, it can break again,” she notes. “It took a little bit of time, but we were able to get it all repaired, but it was quite a big repair.”
She says that while aging pipes can cause issues the longer they remain in the ground, Aquatera tries to remain as diligent as possible when it comes to replacing infrastructure.
“We try to keep ahead of it when we are looking at our assets, the age of them, and making sure we are replacing them before they become a problem. But sometimes they get ahead of you.”
Brenan adds the time of year may have also played a hand in the leak, with the melting snow and higher temperatures causing heaving in the ground.