City expects water main to be repaired this week; restrictions to last another week

The city of Calgary says the main water feeder line affecting the Bowness community will be fixed Thursday, but Phoenix Phillips reports that the flushing of the system will take an additional five days.

Officials say the broken feeder main in northwest Calgary that has had a critical impact on the city’s water supply should be repaired this week — but add they expect water restrictions to remain in place for at least another week.

Water Services Director Nancy Mackay provided the timeline to city council on Tuesday morning and reiterated parts of it during the city’s water emergency update in the afternoon.

She says she expects the repairs on the damaged pipe to be completed by Thursday, more than a week after the break was first discovered last Wednesday after flooding was reported near 16 Avenue NW and Home Road in Montgomery.

“We’ve completely removed the damaged section of the pipe,” she said during the afternoon update. “We need to install and weld the replacement pipe, and that pipe is arriving this afternoon.”

“Installation will take about two days.”

Mackay says crews have scanned and investigated 300 metres of pipe and will be sending a robot in to scan another kilometre for any other issues while they have the chance to do so.

Once repairs are complete in a couple days, she estimates it will take three days to flush the feeder main. Then it will be another two days to test the water quality and ensure it is safe.

“If you can imagine the size of this feeder main, moving the water through there and cleaning that out will take considerable time,” Mackay said. “Following that, we’ll be readying the pipe and the city network for water to begin flowing again.”

If that timeline holds up, it would be at least next Tuesday before the city would be ready restore regular water and start phasing out the restrictions that are in place.

“We do not have a date for the restoration of service,” Mackay said. “However, based on the information we have now, I expect to be able to share a closer date mid-next week.

A fire ban also remains in place, along with the outdoor water restrictions, and Calgarians are still being asked to be smart about their indoor water use by taking steps such as reducing shower lengths, putting off loads of laundry and dishes, and turning off ice makers and humidifiers.

Right now, Calgary’s maximum threshold is 480 million litres of consumption.

On Monday, the city used around 472 million litres, which is up from the weekend by about 15 to 30 million litres

However, Mayor Jyoti Gondek chalked this up to Calgarians catching up on their laundry, dishes, and showers, saying she is confident use can take another tip Tuesday and into the weekend.

Mayor calls on Calgarians to continue support for Bowness

As Bowness continues to grapple with the repercussions of the break that started nearly one week ago, the city’s mayor is asking Calgarians to increase their support for residents and business owners in the area.

While Calgarians are advised to stay away from the site of the break at 16 Avenue NW and Home Road NW, Mayor Jyoti Gondek encouraged residents to pay a visit to the community, especially as Father’s Day nears.

“Anybody that’s itching to get in to Bowness or Montgomery, you should absolutely do so,” she said during an update Tuesday. “The businesses in that community have taken a hit over the last few days and with Father’s Day coming up, I think it’s really important that you think about where you might go shopping to get dad a gift and better than that, take dad out — take him out for brunch, take him out for lunch, take him out for dinner and you can do that in Bowness in Montgomery.”

The boil water advisory was lifted for Bowness Monday evening, after first being introduced late last week. Gondek says this is incredibly good news for everyone that lives and works in the area.

“To everyone in Bowness: your patience and your strength over the last five days has been unwavering and we appreciate it so much,” she said. “The way you looked after each other was commendable.”

A water break separate from the feeder main was found Monday in Bowness, affecting about 20 households.

Gondek says while water breaks happen all the time — the city deals with about 200 a year — the most recent event is still another blow to the people of Bowness.

“Repairs are underway, but it serves as a reminder for why all of us need to keep reducing our water use,” she said.

The mayor even provided insight to some of the new technology being used by crews to examine and evaluate the break — such as robots with state-of-the-art sensors.

“It sounds like something out of a movie, but it’s actually the type of technology we can use here in Calgary to make sure that the water system is safe for everyone,” Gondek said.

Another update on the situation in Bowness is expected at 2 p.m., where it’s possible we might see some of the footage collected by those robots for the first time.

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