Winter wallop

Christopher Gooding
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With three storms packing a punch on the town within five days the Town of Springhill's department of public works were on guard around the clock

Winter wallop

SPRINGHILL: With three storms packing a punch on the town within five days the Town of Springhill's department of public works were on guard around the clock to keep up with Old Man Winter's wrath.
It was Murphy's Law, however, that made things really difficult.
"We had water breaks in the industrial park, Pleasant St, Mechanic St, and the Athol Rd." Town Engineer John Kelly reported.
Over the holidays and into the New Year the department worked diligently to keep services to the township at a minimum. But with water pressure low in the town's water reserve on top of the snowstorms, water breaks and everyday mishaps of running a department, town employees had to work non-stop to ensure the rest of the community enjoyed their holiday season.
"They did a darn good job with minimal inconvenience to the town," Kelly said of the town's public works and water departments. "I'm really proud of the work the guys did."
From Boxing Day to the first days of 2008 the department ran short staffed, 24-7, Kelly says, competing with an estimated three feet of snow and the water breakages. With the breakages the department had to reduce the amount of water in the town storage tank, ultimately reducing the water pressure to some homes. If there were homes running water non-stop to avoid freezing their pipes, an issue Kelly took to task with residence last year, estimates of how much water needed in the tank could be understated and impact an entire neighbourhood.
"We initially kept things low as a buffer," Kelly said. "But if people are using water to heat their lines and if we have a break it's draining the system."
As it stands Kelly could not comment on whether residents are consuming as much water as they did this time last year. The water breaks alone have thrown all estimates out the window. With the new water treatment plant, though, the department is in a position to compare consumption rates against those of last year once things are running smoothly.
The department went on the offensive last year to encourage homeowners to insulate their lines rather than allow their water to run continuously. At that time winter consumption rates matched if not exceeded consumption during the summer.
True to Atlantic Canada form, the weather changed for the better this week with temperatures reaching plus-eight degrees on Monday, January 8. Long rang forecasts put temperatures above the freezing for the week.

Geographic location: SPRINGHILL, Pleasant St, Atlantic Canada

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