Iron pipes showing advanced age
Crews cut through a Marda Loop street to fix a water main break.
Published Monday, December 10, 2012 5:01PM MST
Last Updated Monday, December 10, 2012 5:11PM MST
Cast iron pipes that were installed in the 1930's are common in communities close to downtown and the city is working to replace the aging infrastructure.
The city says the life span of the iron pipes varies from 50 to 100 years and crews have been replacing those old iron pipes with PVC ones since the 1980s.
“There's different vintages of pipe that have different longevities and that depends on soil conditions they're in. So the replacement program isn't always targeted at the oldest pipes,” said Dan Limacher from Calgary Water Services.
The city says that it is just a coincidence that a water main in Marda Loop burst at about the same time as Crowchild Trail flooded.
The Marda Loop break is much smaller than the one on Crowchild but the impact is huge for those who live here.
Karen Evans is getting her water right now from a portable unit that was set up by the city.
“I hate to complain when they bring us nice clean water and I love this neighborhood in general, I just know that there's going to be more stuff that goes wrong here after this, but what can you do,” said Evans.
The cast iron pipe is just over two metres deep and it is difficult for crews to break through the frozen ground.
Many factors contribute to a water pipe breaking like age, soil conditions, and freeze-thaw cycles.
“If you go back 25 years or so the city would have encountered 1200 or so of these breaks a year and through some serious investment and strategic analysis of these water mains the last number of years we've been in this 300 mark,” said Limacher.
In the first ten months of this year, the city has dealt with 176 water main breaks.
City crews say they find a lot of cast iron pipes and still see some clay pipes. They have even seen evidence of wooden pipes in Calgary.