Montreal’s Crumbling Watermains

Watermain pipe breaks are common all over the city. Some areas get hit harder than other causing leaks, gushers, floods, and real inconvenience.

Montreal has invested great amounts of money in upgrading its water infra structure, and it shows with less pipes breaking. With help from the federal and provincial governments, the city’s administration has nearly tripled the money for pipe upgrades from $93 million to $261 million over 3 yrs.

The present administration has announced a program to better train blue collar workers to fix pipes more efficiently, and has pumped more money into water related infrastructure. Even so , more has to be done as 13%  of 3,600 kilometres  of pipe are in urgent need of repair/replacement. The city losses millions of litres of treated water to,leaks daily.

Pipes should last between 80-120yrs..Montreal’s pipes are on average 61yrs old, older than other large Canadian cities.

Why do so many pipes break?

There are five main reasons..age, pipe material, soil conditions, freezing water, and “water hammers” the effect caused by sudden valve closure.

Also iron pipes without anti corrosion additives can wear out quickly, and concrete is susceptible to salt corrosion. Montreal in particular has clay heavy soil which expands when wet, so a leaky pipe can cause soil to shift, breaking the pipe. Rocks in the soil can also break pipes.

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