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Extreme cold does a number on watermains

The extreme cold has meant a number of watermain breaks in Toronto.

Crews have repaired 340 since Jan. 1, versus 220 for the same period last year.

Toronto Water’s director of operations Mario Crognale told 680News that old pipes don’t get along very well with the frigid temperatures.

“The colder it gets, the deeper the frost gets so that pressure on the pipes which is already weak, will result in a failure … a watermain break,” Crognale explained.

The city has 5,400 kilometres of watermain pipes and most of them were installed during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

The water department has a $110-million a year replacement plan that covers 40 to 60 kilometres of pipe a year but Crognale said it will be many, many years before all of the old pipes are replaced.