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16th February 2016
Friday, Feb 12, 2016 03:43 pm
By: Dustin Ruth

Water woes continue to flow in Beiseker, in a detailed report issued to council Feb. 8, Chris Weatherald with Public Works outlined pressing issues caused by the village's aging water infrastructure system.

More trouble came in the form of a major water main break in the village Feb. 3. According to Weatherald, that managed to drain the entire reservoir overnight.

The problem, according to Councillor Warren Wise, appeared to be a four-inch cast-iron pipe. Wise said it was unclear how far that pipe runs before connecting to the six-inch piping that was replaced in most of Beiseker 35 years ago.

“It's just very difficult to say how long (the pipe) has been there, but it shouldn't be there anymore,” Wise said.

Weatherald said emergency four-inch pipe will remediate the issue for now, but he cautioned council that the pipe should be addressed and replaced in the spring.

With a high degree of work required to fix the problem which would likely include digging up roads Wise said the issue will likely take some time to fix.

With a plague of potholes last spring, council had hoped to use a good portion of Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funding to improve pavement grades on the road. With the latest main break, council agreed this issue must take precedence.

“I hate to say this, but it's going to have to go on a higher priority than pavement,” Mayor Ray Courtman said. “Our pavement list is going down and down.”

Fixing the Pumps

Adding to the list of water troubles for the municipality, both the fire and two municipal distribution pumps are in dire need of repair, according to Weatherald.

An oil change conducted on the fire pump last month revealed the presence of brass, which he said indicated there was a bearing failure in the motor.

“There's a good chance that every time that pump fires up it could be for the last time,” Weatherald said.

With that pump essential in the event of a fire in the community, Weatherald said it should have priority over the distribution pumps.

Currently, distribution pump “P1” is servicing water to Beiseker, with “P2” running as a backup if P1 fails or cannot meet the demand on its own.
“P2 is in a sorry state of disrepair,” Weatherald said. “It's running. It's functioning, but it's hard to say for how long.”

Council voted unanimously to allocate up to $20,000 of MSI funding to repair the fire pump and P2. This will also affect plans to allocate funding to paving.

“We don't have a choice,” Wise said. “Again it boils down to, if we can't maintain this (water infrastructure) then we don't have a village anymore.”

“This lack of maintenance is catching up to us,” Courtman added.

A Difficult Fix

A 10-inch pipe along the line coming into Beiseker from the Aqua 7 system which is where the community's water comes from, has corroded to the point that Weatherald said he dare not touch it for fear it would burst.

To fix this issue, he said, the water line would need to be shut off and the reservoir drained. This would leave Beiseker completely without water while the problem is fixed for an unknown amount of time.

“That is a major undertaking,” Weatherald said.
Courtman had questions as to whether the fix was Aqua 7's issue but according to Weatherald, the pipe does fall on Beiseker's side of the metre.
“Well, if it's our problem then we've got to fix it,” Deputy Mayor Al Henuset said.

Council agreed it did not have enough information to determine a solution to the problem.

A future committee of the whole meeting will dig into Beiseker's water issues, including aging valves that have caused numerous leaks over the past few months.