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Calgary water main break likely repaired by Thursday, fully operational in a week

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The water main break in the Calgary community of Montgomery is expected to be fixed by Thursday so that flushing of the line and water quality testing can proceed, officials told city councillors on Tuesday morning.

The city is also relaxing restrictions for ‘hot works’ at construction sites it had in place for days to reduce the fire risk. Residents are still asked to conserve water usage until the line is fully operational again.

“Repairing the pipe, we anticipate, will be completed (on) Thursday, two days from now. Executing feeder main flushing – if you can imagine this feeder main, moving the water through there and cleaning that out – will take considerable time. That’s what we estimate will take three days to move that water,” said Nancy Mackay, the city’s water services director.

“Following that, we will ready the pipe and the city network for water to begin flowing again. We anticipate this will take two days and that involves the water quality testing we do all the time to assure Calgarians that the quality of that drinking water is high.”

Crews have been working non-stop to repair a 78-inch pipe that burst along 16th Avenue N.W. on June 5. The feeder main break prompted water restrictions across the entire city and some surrounding communities.

A boil water advisory for Bowness residents was lifted on Monday evening.

The damaged part of the pipe, which is made up of several layers of concrete and steel wiring, was removed by early Tuesday.

The city has completed an inspection of 300 metres of the pipe inside, Mackay said, and crews have deployed a robot to detect any possible interior damage or deficiencies on another one kilometre of the line.

“What I can share with you today is that it will be seven days from now, at which time we will be able to share with you the last two steps – restoring city water and phasing out water restrictions as we return service to the city,” Mackay said.

Crews work to repair a broken water main in the Calgary community of Montgomery on June 11, 2024. (CTV News)

‘Hot works’ restrictions eased

After the Calgary Construction Association raised concerns about the decision to ban “hot works” at construction sites, the city’s fire chief says they have worked with the industry to ease restrictions.

Hot works refers to the use of torches or another direct flame for construction sites, such as roofing.

The fire ban and restrictions put about 800 roofers without work for almost five days, the construction association said.

“Given where we were a few days ago, I think that was a very prudent measure in terms of reducing the incidence of fire,” said Calgary Fire Department Chief Steve Dongworth.

“In our conversations with the Calgary Construction Association overnight and, actually as this meeting is going on, we’re relaxing some of those restrictions as we see increased confidence in the water supply in the city.”

The fire chief says the lifted restrictions will come with a requirement for extra fire protection measures on construction sites, including additional fire extinguishers and a fire watch until 60 minutes after work is completed with a check-back after four hours.

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