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27M water main repair approved

Major repair work in Port Rowan this summer could be highly disruptive to the town’s annual influx of cottagers and tourists.Jason Godby, Norfolk’s manager of public works administration, is aware of that and told Norfolk council he will work with area residents to ensure big events such as Bayfest are affected as little as possible.It’s a delicate balancing act because public works has determined that long sections of iron water main installed 30 years ago has deteriorated unexpectedly. Tests have concluded that it must be replaced as soon as possible to avoid a catastrophic failure.“This is something we can look at and co-ordinate with them (Bayfest organizers),” Godby said. “It’s not unusual for us to lay water pipe in September. It’s definitely something we will keep in mind.”Godby wouldn’t commit to postponing the work till after the Labour Day weekend. It’s entirely possible, Godby said, that the county can get this work done by the end of August — before the big Bayfest celebration.“We could be in and out of there prior to that,” Godby said.At issue is seven kilometres of iron water main installed by the former Haldimand-Norfolk Region in 1991.The region overlooked that the soil in the construction zone is acidic. As a result, sections of pipe that were expected to last 75 years are in danger of failing. Were that to happen, Port Rowan and St. Williams could be left without tap water or hydrant fire protection.The county realized how serious the problem is in 2017 when a main failure came within half an hour of emptying the Port Rowan water tower. Had that happened, Port Rowan and St. Williams would’ve lost pressure and run dry.Water main tests have determined that 12 segments of pipe have lost more than 30 per cent of their original thickness. The loss for another 30 segments ranges from 10 per cent to 30 per cent. Eleven segments have less than 10 per cent deterioration.Godby recently said the mains should have been backfilled with benign soil trucked in for that purpose. Instead, the county is looking at an unexpected repair that will cost an estimated $2.7 million.“We understand the difficult position Jason is in,” said Port Rowan Coun. Tom Masschaele. “We need to get this project done as soon as possible.”Norfolk council Tuesday approved the expenditure. The money will come from the county’s water replacement reserve fund.“You can have the best laid plans, but problems do come up,” said Delhi Coun. Mike ColumbusThe repair will involve the following sections in the following neighbourhoods:Front Road from College Avenue in Port Rowan to Ellis Street ($270,000) Bay Street from Ellis Street to Church Street in Port Rowan ($345,000) Wolven Street from Erie Avenue to East Quarter Line Road ($935,000) Front Road from East Quarter Line Road to a point 1.2 kilometres east ($720,000). [email protected] read more