Posted on: March 18, 2021 | Return to News
The Town of Conception Bay South has released the results of a comprehensive water system assessment conducted by CBCL, an Atlantic Canadian engineering and environmental consulting firm with extensive experience in municipal water distribution systems. Council commissioned the review following several water main breaks last spring and complaints of elevated water pressure levels.
“While water main breaks and pressure fluctuations are not uncommon in any municipal water system, Council was concerned about the large number of people impacted by water system disruptions last year, and concerns that were being raised over high water pressure levels. To ensure residents’ homes and businesses were protected, the Town proactively engaged external expertise to work with our staff, to ensure everything was working as intended,” said Mayor Terry French. “Council wanted the review findings to be very open, and transparent. We wanted it to address concerns with pressure levels, but also felt it should be all encompassing, and look at everything from our maintenance procedures, to a physical review of water infrastructure, comprehensive modeling, to an analysis of some of the pipe sections that failed last Spring. We also committed to share the findings publicly, which we are doing now.”
CBCL did not identify any immediate concerns with the integrity of the water distribution system, and noted some measures Town staff have already implemented over the last couple of years, such as the replacement of existing pressure relief valves (PRVs) with more modern and efficient infrastructure. CBCL could not identify the initial root cause of breaks in the water mains last year. However, following a repair of a broken water line, data suggested that a pressure relief valve did not properly function, which contributed to an increase in water pressure levels. This valve has been scheduled for replacement this year.
While this increase was within an acceptable level of fluctuation, properties throughout the Town may have experienced effects differently. “One specific concern that Council asked CBCL to review was the concern many residents cited over damage to residential pressure relief valves and hot water tanks.” noted Mayor French. CBCL noted that due to the linear nature and elevation changes of Conception Bay South, the Town’s water pressures are slightly higher than many municipalities, as is required to ensure reliable service to all areas of the community. Further, CBCL found that pressure ranges in the Town’s water system, while high, are well within the design limits of Town infrastructure and private plumbing systems.
Following the results prepared by CBCL, the Town will be posting additional information on its website, and in its permit process, to help provide residents with more clarity on requirements for plumbing fixtures such as pressure relief valves. CBCL also suggested that home and business owners can prevent failures in their private plumbing systems through regular inspection and maintenance, as recommended by the manufacturing guidelines of residential fixtures.
In a continued proactive measure, the Town will consider all recommendations made as part of the CBCL report that will help bolster the work practices of Town staff, such as updated maintenance procedures, consistent leak detection programs and updated water design guidelines.
The full report can be found below.