How to prevent water main breaks

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Water main breaks in Montreal can cause road closures, damage to property and result in costly repairs. The first step in understanding how to avoid water main breaks in Montreal is to look at the main causes.

The experts at Excavation Chanthier, Montreal’s top excavation and demolition company, tell you how to avoid water main breaks in Montreal and what causes them in the first place.

Water main break causes

Water main breaks in Montreal usually occur for five main reasons. In order to avoid water main breaks in the future, it is important to know the most common causes.

1. Excavation work

When companies, public services bodies or even homeowners dig in the ground, whether for a residential excavation or commercial excavation, they may unintentionally hit water pipes with their equipment.

This can happen with something as simple as a shovel or, more commonly, with excavation equipment such as a mini excavator or backhoe.

Often, this happens when the site survey is not done carefully enough or the plans are outdated.

2. Pressure and temperature variations

There are many ways that the pressure inside a water pipe can change. One of the most common is temperature change, sometimes called thermal expansion. When the ground around a pipe freezes and warms up, pipes expand and contract, which can sometimes cause a rupture.

Pressure changes can also occur when hydrants are opened or closed too quickly. This phenomenon is called “water hammer”.

3. Soil subsidence

Over time, the settling of the ground around a water pipe can put pressure on the pipes that run underneath the ground. If the ground settles enough, the stress can then break the pipe.

 4. Corrosive soils

Some soils are corrosive and can eat away at pipes over time. This is particularly common with iron pipes.

The corrosion eventually causes the pipe to break. This most often occurs at fittings or in pipes that have not been properly protected from corrosion.

The Ductile Iron Pipe Research Association (DIPRA) suggests polyethylene coating as the most effective and economical method of corrosion control. Some communities have chosen to use pipe made from non-corrosive materials such as C-900.

5. Age and materials of the hydraulic network

Older pipes are more likely to break. For example, water pipes installed before 1980 were often made of cast iron. Cast iron can be brittle and does not expand or contract easily with temperature changes. When this happens, the pipes tend to crack.

There are also older sewer pipes that are made of clay. This material also breaks easily. Today, water pipes are often made of ductile iron or plastic to avoid these problems.

Best practices to avoid water main breaks

There are a few things you can do to avoid water main breaks.

No matter what type of building demolition or excavation work you have to do in Greater Montreal, it is important to be aware of the location of the pipes. To limit the risk of a water main break, make sure to follow the various steps of a building demolition.

Although it is important to be informed before carrying out any work, whether it be digging a ditch for drainage, excavating a basement or installing an in-ground pool, it is equally important to be attentive to the environment around you.

If you notice any soil erosion or subsidence in the vicinity, variations in outside temperatures or tap water pressure, contact the teams at Excavation Chanthier, specialists in sewer and aqueduct repairs in the Greater Montreal area.

Therefore, it is important to perform regular maintenance to prevent water main breaks in Montreal. This prevention includes:

  • Annual inspection of hydrants, valves and valve chambers
  • Water leak detection
  • Checking the condition of sewer lines
  • Sewer line and sump cleaning

Excavation Chanthier, your waterworks repair specialist in the Greater Montreal area

The most important thing to prevent water main breaks in Montreal is to choose the right company for your excavation work. Let Excavation Chanthier, specialist in demolition, excavation and repair of sewers and aqueducts, handle the job, such as digging a trench quickly.

If you still want to do the work yourself, you should also inquire about the different types of excavators and excavator buckets needed for the job. Contact us today to rent your heavy equipment and find out which one is best for the job you want to do.

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