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Laxdal Road at top of list for water main replacement

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A crew works on a water-main break on Laxdal Road on Jan. 19.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

A crew works on a water-main break on Laxdal Road on Jan. 19. Photo Store

Take heart, residents of 38 homes on Laxdal Road who have been without water many times in the past three weeks — the City of Winnipeg has heard you.

Not only that, you've jumped the queue for water main repairs.

City officials announced at a press conference on Monday that 400 metres of water main on Laxdal Road will be "the first priority on the list of mains to be replaced" and that construction will begin "no sooner than late April or early May."

Frost must be out of the ground and overnight temperatures must not be dropping below freezing so that the temporary water service lines do not freeze.

Geoff Patton, the manager of Engineering in the city's water and waste department, said the external corrosion of a 40-year-old pipes is at the root of the problem for 12 breaks between Dec. 29-Jan. 19 interrupting service to up to 38 homes between Beiko Avenue and Ridgewood Avenue.

"This water main is a 1970s cast-iron water main that has had a very good history of repair but unprecendented, the last few weeks, the number of repairs that have occurred has caused us to place this water main in the highest priority for our work in 2014," Patton said.

"We're happy in terms of the patience and understanding of the residents in this time of service disruption on Laxdal. We feel for the residents of Laxdal and we're doing every effort to restore the service on Laxdal."

He said about 400 metres of water main on Laxdal Road will be repaired at a cost of about $500,000.

The water main on that stretch of road was being monitored for replacement in 2015 but was added to the 2014 Water Main Renewal Program as a result of the number of breaks.

He said the city is now in the design phase for that water main to replace the cast-iron pipes with new PVC C-900 piping, which will look blue in colour. It is the same piping the city has been using for the past 30 years and carries an estimated life of 100-125 years.

While the renewal is being completed, Patton said the city will provide a temporary water service that will run above ground to each house affected. This is why the project can only be started once overnight temperatures warm to above freezing.

The renewal program will take 4-6 weeks to complete. But in the meantime, Patton said the current water main will be maintained.

"If another failure occurs, another repair will be done," he said.

Patton said the issue is the 1970s cast-iron pipe in the Laxdal Road area was commonly used in that era but it is a "thinner-walled pipe" that is "more susceptible to corrosion" from compenents in Manitoba soil.

He said there is no way to tell if or when other pipes of that era will give out in other areas.

"Each water main will react differently, it's made at different times and every street is under different conditions, different soils," Patton said.

History

Updated on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 6:16 PM CST: missing words added

January 21, 2014 at 6:48 AM: Fixes typos & incorrect words

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