How Bad, Exactly, Are Moose Jaw's Water Mains?


Robert Thomas

How bad, exactly, are Moose Jaw’s cast iron water mains?

It was demonstrated to Council’s Budget Committee as the Engineering Department gave a presentation on it's preventative maintenance program.

In the area of "flush and drag", where sanitary sewer lines are cleansed of calcification and grease, the city was only able to complete 20km of their 50km goal, due to manpower being needed elsewhere.

The resource issue; labour and equipment, carried over into "valve exercising". Where only 500 of a target 1500 valves were open and closed to ensure function. Hydrant Operation saw only only 146 of a 1000 target reached.

“We had 244 excavations in 2017, that's over one a day…we are absolutely pushed to the limit,” Public Works Manager, Darrin Stephanson, told the Budget Committee.


In the area of unidirectional flushing, where cast iron mains were flushed of sediment and other contaminants, the average NTU or turbidity was 103 at the start. An average final reading of 3.25 was achieved with a desired target of 3.

Areas flushed were the VLA, Sunningdale, NE and South Hill. With 63.8km of line flushed. A total of 27km of line could not be flushed, with 32% of that total due to inadequate flow and 65% of it due to lack of flow caused by corrosion in the system. 

10% of fire hydrants had to be repaired or replaced in the flushing area.

Asked by Councillor Crystal Froese, what could fix the 32% due to inadequate flow, Stephanson replied "cast iron water main replacement."

Councillor Chris Warren asked if hiring another crew would help to get the job done. Budget Committee was told the cost would be in excess of $500,000 annually but it was “on the radar.”

Improvements in technology were seen as important in relieving the pressure to get work done. Plus the Engineering Department was looking at reallocating resources to rectify the backlog as much as possible before requesting to hire an additional crew.

The 2017 Preventative Maintenance Program was conducted within the Engineering Department's regular budget.

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