Mayor of Bonnyville Gene Sobolewski is thanking the community for playing a huge part in conserving water during the weekend. The Town’s water transmission line broke on Friday afternoon, which could have been a lot worse than it was, says the Mayor, had the citizens and business owners not pulled together and watched their water consumption. The Mayor, who addressed Council Tuesday evening, said the Town had once thought water shut off for the Town was imminent, said it was avoided thanks to the public’s conservation.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the Town of Bonnyville, Mark Power, also addressed Council with an update on the waterline. The CAO says crews are anticipating, from reviews done over the weekend, that valves will have to be put on the line. “I have no idea what kind of dollars we’re looking at,” explained Power, because crews have no completed their assessment of the problems. The line that broke is the town’s original six inch waterline, which comes into to town from the water treatment plant.
Because some of the drawing of the waterline are unclear, or even believed to be wrong, the job may be tougher to complete in the wintertime. One of the drawings have the pipes curving at 50th avenue and Player’s Lounge intersection. However, due to other work done at that intersection, the Town knows those drawings must be inaccurate. “Although, the plans all show the line curving and going underneath the highway, neither of [the waterlines] do,” Powers explained.
The Town has two main waterlines, a six inch and a ten inch. “All the lines are cross-connected,” explains Power, “you can feed the town from the six inch line, if we need to. Or from the ten inch line, if we need to. And there’s a cross-connect, if we close it off, we can isolate the ten inch, and feed the whole town with the six inch line.” The leak on the weekend came when the water diverted from the ten inch to the six inch, says Power, “we had a break down by the pipe yard (west of town), we were running to fill up the reservoir and [the water] made a big u-turn and came back doen the six inch line, through the cross-connect by the reservoir, and it blew the line out by the Northern Lights School [Division].”
The problem, explains the CAO, “we had thought it blew the ten inch line because the water was coming up 50 feet from where the actual line broke.” Because of the pressure difference, the six inch blew and the water came out far from where the leak actually happened. This made it extremely difficult for crews to find where the actual leak happened. “It took the point of least resistance and came up no where near where the water break was,” explains Power, “it took the crew almost 24 hours, just to find it, just by digging with the hydrovacs.”
“The problem with the big line (ten inch) is not the line itself,” Power says, “it’s a valve. There’s a hole, the size of loonie in it. Through the years, it’s probably just a rust spot.” The CAO says crews are working on fixing this issue, “I’m not going to tell you the fix will be done tomorrow, because that”ll jinx it.”
The Mayor of Bonnyville is hopeful that through the Municipal District (MD) of Bonnyville’s new Inter-Municipal Corporation Partnership (IMCP) there will be money available, in the program, to fix the line. “Slating dollars to do these repairs, would be a good project,” for the IMCP.
I’d really like to extend to the residents a really, hearty, thanks. Our typical water use, and the way the water’s drained, we would’ve had until Saturday morning and then we would’ve been turning water off. We didn’t need to turn the water off, because there was so much conservation that occurred. We had 4 inches of water left in the big reservoir and we didn’t have to go into the 8 hours of storage at the small reservoir. Kudos to our residents! I’m so grateful, for the residents in stepping up that way! -Gene Sobolewski Mayor of Bonnyville
LCN will keep you posted as developments in the waterline occur