Town water system operating at significant loss

The Town typically runs at an around 20 per cent loss on the water system

By Kevin J Sabo

For the Advance.

To date, the Castor water system is running at a significant loss in 2019.

Information released during the May 13th council meeting show that for the year to date, Castor’s water losses are 35.38 per cent. This is the highest loss the town has taken on the water system since it ran at 28.26 per cent in 2010.

“This is one of the services you lose money on,” said CAO Christopher Robblee during the meeting.

“Water repair comes first.”

The significant water loss found as of the end of March can be blamed on several water main breaks that occurred during the winter.

While the Town tries to fix the breaks as soon as possible, in some cases it can prove difficult to locate a break and sometimes the crews have no choice but to wait until the leak comes to surface in order to locate it.

Weather becomes a factor as well.

During one break which occurred during the deep-freeze in February, the Town did wait for the weather to improve before making the repair. The extreme cold put both equipment and men at risk causing need of the delay.

The Town of Castor typically runs at an around 20 per cent loss on the water system on an average basis, and with the water main breaks currently repaired, administration remains optimistic that getting back to the 20 per cent mark is possible.

The water system operates in stark contrast to the Town operated gas system. Since 2013 the gas system in the town has run under three per cent loss, even making a three per cent profit in 2015. Gas losses to date for 2019 show that the Town is sitting at 0.22 per cent loss.

One of the reasons for the difference in the services is when water pipes break, they continue to run at a positive pressure, minimizing contamination.

Also, to do with the water system, a resident has given the Town a bill for a hot water tank repair stemming from a water pipe replacement in his area three years ago. He alleges that when the pipe was replaced, contaminated water entered his water system and caused his hot water tank to eventually burn out, and he is requesting that the Town pay for the replacement.

“This is three years after the work was done,” said CAO Robblee.

“Administration’s recommendation is not to pay for this. According to our own bylaws we wouldn’t be held responsible, and this would set a precedent.”

After discussion between the Public Works Foreman, administration, and council, it was decided in a motion put forward by Coun. Rod Zinger that the Town would not cover the bill.

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