Burst main may not be last for city

CASSANDRA POKONEY
Last updated 05:00 14/04/2014
Southland Times photo
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ
A large fire main burst on Esk street, near the City council building on Saturday morning, pictured Carol Ngeru on her way to work.

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A second water main has burst in the Invercargill CBD, flooding part of Esk St, and the city council can not guarantee a similar failure will not happen in a residential area.

The cement asbestos pipe burst on Saturday morning, flooding Esk St outside the Civic Administration Building.

City council water manager Alister Murray said notification there was a problem came through about 9.20am after monitors at the nearby pumping station noticed a marked drop in flow rate.

By 10am the problem had been isolated and the section of affected pipe later replaced with new PVC piping.

The water was turned back on at 4.30pm, Murray said.

It is the second water main in a week to burst in the city.

Part of the CBD was also flooded last weekend after a pipe burst in Don St.

The failed pipes are believed to have come from Italy and were installed in 1958.

Council chief executive Richard King said the pipes had an expected lifespan of 65-70 years and the council had planned to replace them in the 2020s.

Murray said while he did not know how many more city pipes were of similar vintage, he believed the number to be "a smaller amount rather than a larger amount".

The pipes were mostly in the business district but there could be some in outer residential areas, he said.

However, it was unlikely those pipes would fail as they were 100mm diameter pipes. The CBD pipes which burst were 200mm diameter pipes, meaning there was greater water flow and the potential for greater damage, he said.

Funds for pipe replacements usually came out of rating revenue but the council did not have money set aside in the 2014-15 year to cover the cost, nor would it have it much of the following year, so a decision would have to be made whether to bring the work forward, he said.

The cost would be "significant" - likely to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, he said.

 

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