Train­ing pays off af­ter bad break

The Glengarry News - - News - BY RICHARD MAHONEY News Staff

Af­ter a con­trac­tor un­know­ingly sev­ered an in­take line May 2, the Alexan­dria wa­ter plant had re­turned to nor­mal op­er­a­tions 48 hours later.

North Glen­garry crews’ train­ing paid off dur­ing the re­pair job, which in­volved a diver, mu­nic­i­pal em­ploy­ees and sev­eral con­trac­tors.

At around 9 a.m. May 2, the raw wa­ter in­take pipe at Is­land Park was rup­tured when a con­trac­tor sliced through a 14-inch pipe that brings wa­ter from Mill Pond to the treat­ment plant.

At no point was wa­ter qual­ity com­pro­mised, the town­ship stresses.

The wa­ter flow was lost to the plant, but thanks to im­proved stor­age con­di­tions, and op­er­a­tional ad­just­ments, ser­vice was not af­fected.

In fact, dur­ing the re­pairs, North Glen­garry’s fire depart­ment re­sponded to a barn fire near Dalkeith.

Res­i­dents were asked to con­serve wa­ter while crews worked to re­solve the sit­u­a­tion. Less than 48 hours af­ter the breach, re­pairs were fully com­pleted and nor­mal op­er­a­tions re­sumed.

En­vi­ron­men­tal Ser­vices Man­ager Dean McDon­ald cred­its train­ing, plan­ning and the hard work of ev­ery­one in­volved with get­ting the sys­tem back on line so quickly.

“Our emer­gency ser­vices pro­to­cols for the Wa­ter Works Depart­ment were up­dated in 2018. Dur­ing table­top ex­er­cises our staff pre­pared for a va­ri­ety of emer­gency sce­nar­ios, work­ing out ways in which we would mit­i­gate the im­pact to res­i­dents, while pre­serv­ing the qual­ity of our wa­ter source and act­ing to in­sti­tute re­pairs as quickly as pos­si­ble. This train­ing en­abled our team to be bet­ter pre­pared for emer­gency sit­u­a­tions like this one,” said Mr. McDon­ald.

Emer­gency pumps

Within three hours of the rup­ture, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from At­las De­wa­ter­ing were on scene with emer­gency pumps, and a temporary line was in­stalled in-or­der to re-es­tab­lish raw wa­ter flow into the wa­ter treat­ment plant, so the plant could pro­duce wa­ter and re­plen­ish the wa­ter tower.

“At­las De­wa­ter­ing acted with in­cred­i­ble speed. Last week pumps were in short sup­ply be­cause of the flood­ing go­ing on in sur­round­ing ar­eas. At­las De­wa­ter­ing man­aged to ac­com­mo­date us and to ar­rive as quickly as pos­si­ble so that our res­i­dents con­tin­ued to have ac­cess to safe, qual­ity drink­ing wa­ter,” Mr. McDon­ald said.

Joint ef­forts

He explained that the im­por­tance of the pumps is that they en­abled the town­ship to en­sure that more than 1,500 wa­ter con­nec­tions, rep­re­sent­ing ap­prox­i­mately 3,000 res­i­dents, con­tin­ued to have high-qual­ity and quan­tity of wa­ter.

Alexan­dria res­i­dents use ap­prox­i­mately 2,000 cu­bic me­tres of wa­ter each day; the tower main­tains a sup­ply of ap­prox­i­mately 3,000 cu­bic me­tres of wa­ter. This rep­re­sents a sup­ply of be­tween 24 and 30 hours of reg­u­lar ser­vice. With the temporary pumps in­stalled, the sys­tem op­er­ated at nor­mal ca­pac­ity, treat­ing wa­ter at the plant and pump­ing it to the tower that fur­nishes a con­tin­u­ous sup­ply to res­i­dents.

The in­take pipe was in­stalled in Mill Pond in the early 1950s. At that time it was not com­mon prac­tice to in­stall emer­gency shut-off valves.

“This meant that we couldn't sim­ply turn off a valve to com­plete the re­pair, as you would in a nor­mal re­pair job,” the mu­nic­i­pal­ity explained.


Divers from Dundee Ma­rine were brought in and tasked with in­stalling a bal­loon plug, un­der­wa­ter, at the wa­ter in­take. This stopped the wa­ter from flow­ing into the dam­aged pipe area and the con­trac­tors were able to be­gin ex­ca­va­tion and re­pair of the pipe.

A crew from Drain All Ltd., helped lo­cate the pipe, de­wa­ter the dig site and flush to re­move de­bris. Ray­mond The­o­ret Ex­ca­va­tion was used to ex­ca­vate the site by care­fully dig­ging down to ex­pose the bro­ken pipe. The next step in­volved us­ing the ser­vices of Hy­droCam to video in­spect the af­fected area and to en­sure no fur­ther dam­ages or de­bris were ob­served. Crews from Clarence MacDon­ald Ex­ca­va­tion and the wa­ter­works depart­ment then in­stalled the re­pair fit­tings and pipe.

Once com­pleted the divers then re­moved the bal­loon plug and by 10 p.m. Fri­day nor­mal op­er­a­tions had re­sumed.

“The town­ship has emer­gency pro­to­col pro­ce­dures in place for sit­u­a­tions like this. Fol­low­ing this in­ci­dent our staff will re­view ev­ery­thing that hap­pened, and we will dis­cuss pre­ven­tive ac­tions to not only re­act to sit­u­a­tions like this one, but to pre­vent fu­ture ones. I'm proud of all of the hard work done by our staff and by ev­ery­one who helped to re­store the net­work,” said Mr. McDon­ald.

The im­pact of the dam­age was re­stricted to Alexan­dria. Res­i­dents in Glen Robert­son were not im­pacted, as they are on a sep­a­rate sys­tem.


MISLOCATED: A con­trac­tor broke a pipe lead­ing to the Alexan­dria wa­ter plant last week, how­ever, the mishap did not af­fect the qual­ity of wa­ter.

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