Work begins on Haslam Lake water main replacement

Restrictions put in place as city crews begin to update infrastructure

A $4.2-million project to replace the water supply pipe from Haslam Lake to the City of Powell River’s water reservoir in Cranberry is set to start.

The city began receiving lengths of polyethylene pipe on Friday, July 28, said city director of infrastructure Tor Birtig.

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A staging area near the Haslam Lake water intake has been established and crews will weld the pipe lengths together there, said Birtig.

Once the pipe is complete, it will be inserted into the existing concrete water main in a process called slip-lining and pulled through to connect the lake to the reservoir, he added.

The new trunk main is expected to have a life expectancy of 80 years, said Birtig.

“It will have a longer life span than the system it is replacing,” he said.

The project to replace the approximately 60-year-old concrete water main is estimated to take four months. During that time, the city is asking residents to be mindful of how much water they are using, said city councillor Karen Skadsheim, who holds the council portfolio for the city’s infrastructure.

"We need to be water-wise, regardless of how much water we have," said Skadsheim. "We shouldn't waste it."

A bypass pipe with a pump is being installed to supply the city’s reservoir, but that pipe has a smaller diameter than the existing main, said Birtig.

“That's why we're asking for the water restrictions,” he added.

Water restrictions are needed to reduce the amount of usage pressure on the temporary system while the project is being completed, he said.

The city moved from stage-one to stage-two water restrictions on Friday, July 21, in anticipation of the project starting up. Stage-two water restrictions limit lawn sprinkling to non-peak hours and specifies which days residents may water.

Residents who water outside of the stage-two regulations will asked to comply with the city’s rules, but will not face fines, said Birtig.

Unlike other regions in the province that face water shortages in the summer due to limited supply, Powell River has an abundant source of fresh water in Haslam Lake.

Birtig said the current lake level is between six to eight inches higher than the seasonal average level.

The aging water main has been identified as a hazard for the city. In the event of a large earthquake, the main could impact the fire department’s ability to extinguish the resulting fires.

"I'm happy that the project is getting underway,” said Skadsheim. "It’s a critical piece of infrastructure. This is not a moment too soon."

Copyright © 2017 Powell River Peak

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