Relief for Tollgate-Vincent Massey Drive residents affected by water main breaks

Cornwall Emergency Management Coordinator Bradley Nuttley gives a case of bottled water to an area resident near Tollgate Road and Vincent Massey Drive on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. The area has been dealing with four water main breaks, the most recent break happening Thursday morning. The water is back on. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

Update 7 p.m.: Emergency Management Coordinator Bradley Nuttley tells CNW, water service has been restored to the area.

CORNWALL – The city has coordinated relief for residents still affected by a series of water main breaks in the northwest section of the city.

Public Works Division Manager Bill de Wit told Cornwall Newswatch they have had four breaks on two different water lines around Vincent Massey Drive and Tollgate Road West.

Two breaks happened in a 16-inch water main, which runs along the edge of Vincent Massey Drive over the Thanksgiving weekend.

The latest breaks of a 8-inch iron main, which crosses Vincent Massey Drive and services an area known as Tollgate West, happened twice in two days.

“That main broke yesterday, we repaired it, and it broke again today. The plan is to replace that portion of that main across Vincent Massey Drive. While we have the trench open, we’re going to put in another pipe,” de Wit said.

The new PVC pipe will need to be disinfected to Ministry of Environment standards, which will take 48 hours.

De Wit hoped the water would be on late this afternoon (Thursday) and he was hoping the water would stay on until they can make a switch-over to the new pipe.

Crews with Cornwall Municipal Works do construction on a broken water main on Vincent Massey Drive on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. The water main has since been repaired and the city is putting in a replacement line. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

In the meantime, bottled water is being made available at the Fairview Motel at 2020 Vincent Massey Drive and bathrooms and showers are available at the Benson Center for affected homeowners. “We have set up facilities there for them as well.”

As for what’s causing so many breaks in such a short time, it may be air pockets in the large 16-inch water main on Vincent Massey Drive, de Wit speculated.

“We’re speculating that it’s go to do with air accumulation in the line, the large 16-inch line. The air is trying to find a way out and it’s causing undue pressure on the main. But we can’t absolutely say that with any certainty,” de Wit said.

As for the 16-inch main, de Wit said their long term plan is to reline the high capacity pipe.

“Some of the discussions we have had already is looking at a long term relining plan…putting a plastic coating inside the 16-inch (pipe). That would certainly strengthen the pipe,” he said.

As for residents being inconvenienced with no water, “it’s unfortunate, we are doing the best we can.”

For drivers, a section of Vincent Massey Drive is closed between Tollgate Road and Power Dam Drive until tomorrow (Friday) night. Detours are in place.

Residents requiring more information can call the municipal works office at 613-932-5354.