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Replacement pipes arrive in Calgary to help in water main repairs

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Two massive replacement pipes from San Diego have arrived in Calgary to be used in the ongoing repair work on a water main that broke earlier this month.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek said Wednesday afternoon work is moving forward "as quickly as possible."

She also noted work is being kept local wherever it can be.

"All five hot spots have now been excavated and cutting of existing pipe has begun," she said.

"There are three hot spots where we had existing parts in supply, and now that the two additional pieces have arrived from down south, those two remaining pieces are being sandblasted and coated with epoxy at a local shop before they're able to be lifted into the ground.

"Many other parts we needed to couple the new pipes to the existing ones are also being fabricated locally.

"While we're sourcing parts from anywhere available to us, all of the repair work is being done by local City of Calgary workers and crews of contractors."

The original broken pipe has been repaired and crews are filling in the hole.

Stage 4 water restrictions continue in Calgary, and will for some time.

"We need to be cautious about how quickly we bring this feeder main back online to prevent any further complications and we need to be cautious about how quickly we lift restrictions on water usage to make sure we are easing back slowly into full capacity," Gondek said.

"It will be a staged approach before we return to normal."

Michael Thompson of the City of Calgary's infrastructure services department says with things moving forward as they are, "we are aiming for the low end of our original timeline of three to five weeks."

Gondek praised Calgarians' recent water conservation efforts.

"(Tuesday), we held the line on water use for the fourth straight day," she said.

"At 445 million litres of water consumed, that is a quarter less than what we typically use at this time of year, which is right on target.

"Since the start of this water crisis, two weeks ago, we've saved over 600 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of water."

Two workers injured at the worksite have been released from hospital.

One, employed by the city, is back at work.

At Wednesday's update, Calgary Emergency Management Agency acting chief Coby Duerr addressed "crews being harassed, called names, filmed and photographed while doing critical repair work."

"This behaviour is not OK," he said.

"We have heard of this happening when crews are performing necessary procedures where they must flush water from pipes.

"This may appear to be a wasteful use of water (and) that might provoke an emotional response ... (but) while the city has prioritized reducing our water usage, we must continue practices necessary to meet regulatory standards for water quality, public health and safety and to maintain our water distribution system.

"Flushing occurs for many reasons.

"Crews are doing their best to use as little water (as possible) to complete this important work."

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