An improperly installed joint in a Bluewater watermain was the culprit of a leak that likely sent two neighbourhoods into stage four water restrictions for two months.
Bowen Island Municipality’s interim director of engineering Glen Shkurhan gave the report to council Monday.
The resolution came a week after the municipality found and fixed a “significant” watermain leak on Windjammer Road in Bluewater. Fixing the single leak allowed the system to stabilize to such a degree that the municipality lifted the restrictions from stage four to stage one (which is where the rest of the island is at).
The watermain lies 16 ft. deep in the road embankment fill on the downslope side of Windjammer. It is believed to be part of the original water system infrastructure built an estimated 60 years ago. Shkurhan said that the road fill could have shifted, gradually worsening the leak, and then as pipe is so deep and the water was escaping into a creek below, the leak was not easily detectable. Bowen Island Municipality also had trouble finding the leak as the watermain wasn’t located where the muni’s drawings indicated, said the report.
BIM doesn’t know how much water was lost to this leak but Shkurhan said in the report that the leak is thought to have existed for “considerable time, with gradual worsening.”
“The regained stability of the water reservoirs since the leak was repaired demonstrates that the leak was significant and was a major contributor to the insecurity of the water supply,” said Shkurhan. He noted that daily reservoir storage levels have varied by just a few per cent in the days since the leak was fixed and that the demands on the wells have dropped.
Due to the watermain’s poor installation, Shkurhan said there’s the potential for more leaks. He recommended BIM scrap 70 metres of the old watermain and place a new pipe, with proper fittings and restrainers, uphill of the road at a shallower depth. Monday, council approved spending $60,000, funded through the Bluewater Park Reserve for Works, on this endeavour.