Whatever the temperature, whatever the weather conditions, when a water main breaks, it needs to be fixed... immediately.
When a break in the line on Brock Street East occurred Friday night, town staff were quick to respond.
"We got calls starting at approximately 8 p.m.," said Stephen Gradish, Operations Utility Manager, Town of Tillsonburg. "Staff arrived at 8 p.m., the repair crew was organized, and by the time they exposed it and fixed everything, they had the road re-opened by 5 a.m."
Time required to fix water mains vary, he said, but nine hours is typical.
"I'd say eight to 10 hours on an average main break."
After a long, cold winter, temperatures are starting to warm up. That makes ideal conditions for breaks, he said.
"This is actually when Tillsonburg would see more of them. We don't necessarily see it on the real cold nights. It's when the frost starts to come out – you get ground shift. On those 'little bit' warmer nights, that's when we'll see breaks. This our high alert week... when it just starts to get above zero, and the frost comes out, that's when we'll probably see more breaks than any other week."
Water main breaks are not frequent in Tillsonburg, said Gradish, but are common enough.
"We don't get a lot of them, but we definitely get our fair share."
Friday's break occurred on an old six-inch cast-iron water main.
"That's what they were out there fixing – older infrastructure."
Gradish said water main breaks can occur at any time of day, not just 'after 8 p.m.'
"It's just as the frost starts to come out, things start to shift around. It can happen during the day or it can happen at night. There's no really set time."
SUNDAY'S POWER OUTAGES
"There was a large outage (Sunday) from 3:57 p.m. to 5:50 p.m. on one of the THI feeders," said Gradish. "This was the result of a broken insulator."
Although vehicular accidents or falling branches sometimes cause problems for transformers, Gradish said Sunday's outage was much bigger.
"Transformers are more localized. When the insulator went down, it took off the whole feeder."
A large residential area on the east side of town was affected, said Gradish, as well as the industrial park on the south end of town.
During the repair, utility staff had to go the site of a structure fire to shut power off for the fire department.
"They (Tillsonburg Fire and Rescue Services) were having a busy week as well," said Gradish, noting there another power outage Sunday (cause unknown) from 5:23 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. over a smaller area that included the downtown core.