Watermain project to address water quality issues in East End


At Monday’s City Council meeting (June 13th), PUC will be announcing a watermain relining pilot project, subject to Water Commission approval, to be done in the east end of the city.

Watermain relining is a proven technique that is used in other communities across Ontario with great success. Relining old iron watermains will effectively address water quality concerns caused by unlined pipes in specific localized areas. Plans are to tender the work later this summer. In the coming weeks, PUC will be seeking feedback from customers in the east end of the city with a short telephone survey. The purpose of the survey is to identify areas where customers are presently experiencing water quality issues.

While the Ipsos-Reid survey last November found that both overall satisfaction and acceptability with the quality of the city’s drinking water are increasing since the introduction of the advanced treatment methods in 2015 – more needs to be done to address customers’ concerns. “Thanks to the Ipsos Reid survey we know that while things are improving system-wide, there are still pockets, primarily in the east end, that continue to experience water quality issues,” says Giordan Zin, PUC Supervisor of Customer Engagement.

“We hope, with the help of our customers, we can identify those pockets and address their concerns at the street level. While we have an idea anecdotally of where the problem areas are, we are concerned that we may not have heard from all customers in the area with concerns. We believe it is important that everyone in the east end have a chance to provide their input.”

The upcoming survey, unlike previous surveys, will be conducted using PUC staff as opposed to a polling firm. PUC aims to contact every household in the east end to solicit their input. “Our customers are the best resource we have for monitoring changes in the distribution system with respect to water quality, and we want to hear from them to know where they are currently experiencing water quality issues,” says PUC President Dominic Parrella.

“The purpose of the pilot project is to support the developemnt of a long term watermain relining program. This new program would run concurrently with our traditional infrastructure renewal program – watermain replacement in partnership with City road reconstruction projects. This is why it is critical, from our perspective, that we involve everyone we can in the process of identifying trouble spots,” says, Parrella.

While relying on the feedback from customers is important, it is not the only metric used to determine relining locations. Not every watermain is suitable for relining. For example, only unlined ductile iron or cast iron watermains will be considered for relining. Some other factors considered include size and condition of the watermain and service lines. PUC will be consulting with the City to ensure that a potential relining candidate is not on the city’s near-term reconstruction plan.

Watermain relining helps improve water quality and extends the service life of watermains by reducing discoloured water issues, leaks, and internal pipe corrosion. The process typically involves isolating a section of pipe, mechanically cleaning and drying the pipe, and then installing the liner. Depending on the technology used, customers may be supplied with a temporary water system during the work to minimize any inconvenience.

This trenchless rehabilitation process can eliminate most of the excavation, backfill, and repaving associated with traditional infrastructure renewal projects involving road reconstruction. Not only does this process present the opportunity to be more cost effective, it has the added benefit of being much less disruptive to customers in the area. For example, a typical street reconstruction project would take months to complete, while a relining of the same street could be completed in a matter of weeks.

Customers can expect more information on this pilot project, as well as the east end survey in the coming weeks.


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