Concern about pipe bursts
There is a perception amongst Georgians that the number of burst water pipes is increasing. Certain houses in George South and Loerie Park were without water after two pipe bursts occurred at the beginning of last weekend. The main water line that runs down Merriman Street to the Correctional Services, the industrial area and Pacaltsdorp was ruptured on Saturday night, 28 October. A municipal standby team worked throughout the night to repair the pipe. The Correctional Services facility in Union Street was without water and the municipality supplied an emergency water tanker. A small water tank was placed in Wentzel Street, which was also affected by the pipe burst.
On Sunday morning, a maintenance team from the George Municipality Water Network Department came on site. A section of the old asbestos mainline water pipe had been replaced with a new blue PVC pipe. Most of George South had water. There were only a few houses that for unknown reasons had been connected to the main water line years ago instead of to the suburbs feeder line. On the other side of town, 16 houses in Boekenhout Street, Loerie Park were without water from 08:00 on Saturday morning, also because of a burst water pipe. A small water tank was stationed in Boekenhout Street. The water was restored at 14:00 on Sunday. A source within the municipality said the crux of the problem is that the old asbestos pipes have reached the end of their lifespan and must be replaced. "Fixing it up piecemeal only compounds the problem as we are running from one crisis to the next. The engineering department has to guard against an airlock in the pipe as this can be a problem when it moves through the system."
Replacing sections of the old asbestos pipeline with PVC piping doesn't necessarily solve the problem, since the pressure point that caused the leak often just moves elsewhere in the pipeline where it causes another pipe burst at a weak point.
Chantel Edwards-Klose, George municipal spokesperson, said: "The pipeline still performs adequately, as the frequency of incidents is on average twice per year. Last week's incident was actually one case, with related work being done to the initial repair work.
The reticulation system was reinforced with the installation of the western pipeline and the Kraaibosch pipeline in the interim. The water mains in question are being replaced in sections, with the section between the railway line and Courtenay Street already done earlier this year. The next section to be replaced will be between the main reservoirs and the railway line, to be split into two stages. The scheduling of the replacement is dependent on prioritisation and the funds made available in the budget for network rehabilitation.”
The George Municipality Water Network Department were on site in Merriman Street on Sunday morning.
Residents in Boekenhout Street Elizia and Bertus Conradie had a bleak weekend without water and said the small water tank supplied by the municipality was inadequate for the 16 households in the street.