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Frost boils, soil contamination force changes to Estevan's capital spending

Frost boils will cost the city $350,000; the usual budget amount is $40,000.
Estevan city hall summer
Estevan city hall

ESTEVAN - Estevan city council had to amend the city's 2024 budget to accommodate added costs associated with frost boils and soil contamination.

In a report filed with council for the June 10 meeting, city manager Jeff Ward said that during the first five months of the year, the city has incurred some unexpected costs.

"During the spring season of 2024, there has been an unusual amount of frost boils on major

streets within the city. The unusual winter weather of heavy snow, followed by it melting immediately, and then freezing again, has created some stability issues just under the surface," said Ward.

Potholes have also increased this year, he said.

Additional work has already been completed in-house for the smaller frost boil issues, Ward said, but the total cost is expected to be $350,000 this year. The annual budget for the issue was $40,000.

Later in the meeting, council approved a tender for $310,000 to remedy the issue on Petterson Drive and Taisey Crescent.

The work is slated to start June 17 and wrap up July 28. Tasks include excavating existing asphalt and underlying soil; subgrade prep; supplying and installing sub-base, base, asphalt primer (granular material); tack coat and asphalt.

Coun. Shelly Veroba noted the city is not alone when it comes to challenges associated with frost boils and potholes this year.

"I know we have actually bragged [in the past about] how little potholes, how little repair work we've had due to our great street cleaning that we do in the winter," said Veroba.

Communities that she has visited like Regina, Calgary and Brandon have found themselves in similar situations, she said.

"I, too, felt the pain driving around and seeing those frost boils," said Veroba.

Also, during work the city completed for valve replacements at the intersection of Fourth Street and 11th Avenue, some contamination was identified, which created an unexpected cost to the city as it had to remediate the soil. The contamination that has been identified required reporting to the government and remediation had to be completed at an approved site, which cost approximately $175,000.

To accommodate these costs, two projects were removed from the budget: Smith Street reservoir electrical for $350,000 and a new changing room building for the Hillside playpark worth $300,000.

The Smith Street electrical still requires some engineering to be completed, and it will not be finished until 2025. Meanwhile, the delay in construction of the new building at Hillside has been cleared with public health, Ward said.