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Much of Penticton's aging water infrastructure facing corrosive buildup

Tuberculation is a hard crusty buildup on the interior wall of cast iron pipe that reduces capacity and weakens the pipe.
Image Credit: wikimedia commons
September 09, 2015 - 8:00 PM

PENTICTON - Penticton’s aging water delivery infrastructure has forced city staff to rethink a recently introduced maintenance program for its cast iron water pipes.

Public Works Manager Len Robson asked council to reallocate the remaining 2015 budget for the city’s cast iron water main cleaning and inspection program in order to implement a water utility geographic information system program.

The request came as a result of last year’s increasing number of water line failures, which prompted the establishment of a $250,000 budget to clean and inspect the city’s 75 kilometres of cast iron pipe.

Inspections have revealed extensive deterioration of many of the pipes and in many cases video inspection of the pipes discovered tuberculation — small, hard, knob-like mounds of corrosion — forming in the pipe’s interior, which is restricting internal pipe diameter by as much as 30 per cent.

The city hired a contractor to attempt to clean the lines, which achieved limited results. Much of the corrosive buildup remained in the pipes after being aggressively scoured with foam 'pigs.'

Another result of tuberculation is a weakening of the pipe wall. After reviewing the video reports, staff feels continuing the inspection program would reveal similar conditions throughout the network.

Industry standards generally set water mains' useful life at approximately 70 years, Robson told council, noting most of the city’s cast iron pipe infrastructure is between 60 and 75 years old. Most of the cast iron network is due for replacement and Robson asked council to reallocate the remaining budget into a geographic information system for the water utility network. This type of system will allow the city to more effectively analyze the city’s water system, giving them a means to make predictive maintenance decisions, rather than reactive ones.

This week council agreed to transfer the remaining balance of $233,933 from the inspection program. The funds will go towards development of a water utility geographic information system.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at sarstad@infonews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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