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'I was appalled': Calgary councillors question administration over water main break cause, cost

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Repairs to fix five areas of concern on one of Calgary's main water line feeders are ongoing, but we don't yet know the cost to respond to and repair the pipe.

On Tuesday, council asked top city officials about the state of the rest of the pipe and when Calgarians will know whether there are more 'hot spots' that will need to be addressed.

"We're focusing on repairing those hot spots so that we can turn the return the pipe to service and return service for our communities. Additional information will come once we get into the review period," said Michael Thompson, the city's general manager of infrastructure services.

Since the initial break on June 5, more than four kilometres of the pre-stressed concrete cylinder pipe (PCCP) has been inspected. The city has about 10 kilometres of PCCP along the same line, officials said, meaning nearly six kilometres will need to be inspected at a later time.

"How many other fault locations will be identified? ... So we don't even know how much this is going to cost, let alone what it's going to cost to make sure that the entire line is, you know, not compromised," said Coun. Andre Chabot, the Ward 10 representative.

In response to questions from Coun. Jennifer Wyness, a city official confirmed the main feeder line had not been inspected in the decade prior to the break.

"I was appalled. I think it's unacceptable for the main feeder line to be not inspected or evaluated in 10 years. The other answer was a surprise. That was the report saying that this pipe is going to fail. And no one was aware about it," Wyness told reporters.

In order to test the remaining sections of the water line, flow and pressure will need to be reduced. Those inspections are expected to happen in the winter.

The focus now is getting water flowing again and more answers about why the break happened and how the emergency response will be paid for will be released later, said Francois Bouchart, Calgary's director of capital priorities and investments.

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