By Cole Parkinson
A local property owner has expressed dissatisfaction with water pressure on the residence.
The issue was brought forward to town council during their regular council meeting on Dec. 16 to discuss if the town should be responsible for replacing a part of the waterline.
“We had a couple of caretakers contact us in the past and discussed the options. Myself and the foreman have both been inside the house. The quarter-inch fittings were out and we can’t do any outside work for inside issues. They also replaced the waterline from the curb stop to the inside of the house and they are still having issues. They are saying the water pressure is not there. While they had the excavation open, we did a flow test from the main to the curb stop and received 10 gallons in a minute. They also have the half-inch line where other places I have tested have five-eights lines or three-quarter lines so it wasn’t consistent,” explained CAO Cris Burns. “I was trying to find what was an acceptable flow rate on a half-inch line and I inquired with Richard (Phillips) because he is skilled with water piping at BRID. I told (the owner) that if he gets his fixed we would try to find out what we can do on our side but I don’t find it a pressure problem which means it is not compromised, it is old. If everyone in town wanted their line changed, the town would go broke in a week.”
Coun. Phillips explained the size of the pipe was the main culprit for the lack of water pressure.
“I did a little bit of checking and the bottom line is the line Cris was checking for a five-eights line, a three-quarter line and a half-inch line, they were all flowing at the same rate. The bottom line is a five-eights pipe is far bigger than a half-inch and a three-quarter is huge compared to a half-inch. If you want more water, you get a bigger pipe. A half-inch pipe is a poor excuse for a water line,” he said. “If you assume they all have the same pressure, the flow you get from the half-inch is exactly proportional of what you would get from the five-eights or three-quarter as they were measured. The issue is simply a tiny little pipe versus a bigger pipe. You aren’t going to get a lot of water through a half-inch pipe.”
Administration explained that originally all piping was half-inch but the property owner had replaced the original line with three-quarter pipes but the line from the main to the curb was still half-inch.
“Going from half-inch to three-quarters, there would be a drop in pressure because you are going into a bigger pipe. But the amount of water you are going to get is still the same,” said Coun. Ray Coad.
In conversing with the owner, administration stated they informed them that those costs would usually be put on the person doing the replacement.
“I told him it is the same as a developer. If you want to change the water line in the street, which is not a problem, but you become a developer and pay all costs,” said Burns. “It is the town side but is it a town problem? Is it a developer request and that is what I am asking council.”
According to administration, several properties within the town still using half-inch line.
“A lot of homes from the East end of town to almost halfway in may have those. That is the oldest part of town and that’s what they used. They may have put a larger one in but then it would have been a five-eights because that was largest then,” continued Burns.
With several residences in Vauxhall still using half-inch, the cost to replace the lines would be astronomical for the town.
“If we start replacing half-inch lines with bigger lines, that is a huge job. It is very unfortunate a half-inch line was used because the price between a half-inch to a three-quarter is peanuts and yet the impacts are huge. To change it now though, because you have to dig it up and replace it, it is a big cost,” said Phillips.
“You are probably looking at a $20,000 per device connection. You’d bankrupt the town in no time,” added Coad.
Others were worried about other residents approaching the town if they approved paying for the upgrade.
“Basically, if you do it for one, you have to do it for all,” said Mayor Margaret Plumtree.
“As far as this goes, we can’t set that precedent because we can’t do that for anybody,” stated Coun. Kim Cawley.
In terms of when the town would step in to replace the lines, it would fall on whether the pipe was working.
“If it is broken, we dig it up and it’s on us no matter what,” stated Burns.
A motion was carried unanimously to direct administration to respond to the property owner that no action will be undertaken by the town.