Ruptured pipe may be first of several

21:40, Apr 07 2014

A burst asbestos pipe sent water gushing through inner-city streets and could be a indication of more bursts to come.

The 200mm pipe burst at the intersection of Don and Doon streets about 5am on Sunday, and the "1958 vintage" may be showing signs of what is to come, a council manager has warned.

Invercargill City Council water manager Alister Murray said there were more pipes of that age scattered around the city, including one underground in Esk St.

"It may be indicative of the state of those mains of that era."

He said the situation should be considered during Invercargill's inner-city upgrade.

The Italian-made pipes were not of such good quality as the New Zealand-made pipes and did not seem to be lasting for their expected life span of 65 years, he said.


"This particular Italian manufacturer seems to be of inferior quality."

The Sunday morning eruption caused depressurisation of the water tower and cut supply to the surrounding area for more than 12 hours, Murray said.

"It's like having an aneurism or an artery fail close to your heart."

Five-hundred cubic metres of water gushed throughout the CBD, causing a lake to form in Jed St, Murray said.

Silt and gravel also filled sumps and created a mess. However, the council was able to isolate the burst pipe within 90 minutes and worked as quickly as possible to restore water to the neighbourhood, he said.

"It was quite a mess to clean up."

Infrastructure and services committee chairman Lindsay Thomas said the situation showed how easily things could go wrong.

"It shows us how quickly things can go pear-shaped."


The Southland Times