The Town of Drumheller is employing a method of water pipe replacement that will potentially minimize disruption of service as well as excavations.
Drumheller is in the midst of a five-year cast iron waterline replacement program and this year is replacing lines on portions of 1St Street West, North Railway Avenue and Centre Street. The project is to replace a number of cast iron lines in the town that are in degradation.
Al Kendrick, director of Infrastructure Services explains the method for replacing the pipes they are using is called pipe bursting.
“What they do is send a wire through the pipe, hook the machine on it and pull the new pipe through it, breaking up the old one at the same time. This way they can put a bigger pipe in where a smaller one was before,” said Kendrick. “It is less disruptive and saves a lot of road repair, but there is still some digging that is required, but it is a little more efficient way to go.”
He said the method they are using is not new, but it is being used more and more so not to disrupt the aboveground infrastructure.
“We have done it before, but in smaller portions,” he said.
Similarly, the new force sewer main that has been installed from the 19th Street lift station to the wastewater treatment plant in East Drumheller has also employed working subsurface as not to disrupt surface infrastructure.
“The majority of that line was directionally drilled and pulled in into place. They didn’t dig from 19th Street all the way to the wastewater plant, which is a kilometre, they did it in five or six pulls.”
“It is getting used more and more because it becomes more cost effective.”
Kendrick says Muzechka Holdings out of Edmonton was awarded the contract, and Murphy Pipeline Contractors out of the United States is doing the work.
Kendrick says the lines are also pre-chlorinated which means the pipe going into the ground has a chlorine solution in it. This allows the installations to be disinfected and ready to be tested and flushed once the pipes are installed.
The project was tentatively scheduled to commence July 30 and to continue for about seven weeks. He says there have been some delays in getting some components.
He says they plan to disrupt service as little as possible and will notify those affected by the construction as each phase rolls out. The process will involve flushing mains during the process, and residents and businesses may notice a temporary increase in turbidity.