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Defective pipes create problems in Alpine water main project

Matterhorn Drive now in third month of disruptions



A faulty batch of piping has caused delays and some frustrations in the first phase of the multi-million-dollar Alpine Meadows water main replacement project.

To help deal with the issues, the contractor has been given approval to extend work hours until 8 p.m., and to work on weekend days as needed "due to the complexity of the construction activities."

The municipality confirmed this week that during pressure testing at 200 psi (pounds per square inch) this summer, a problem was found with the water main on Matterhorn Drive.

"Further investigations revealed that the problem was with the materials supplied by the pipe manufacturer," said the municipal communications department in an emailed statement.

The contractor, Ponte Bros., was asked to remove and replace the water main.

Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden was briefed on the problems this week, the first she had heard of it.

"They started with the overland water system installation for Matterhorn on July 20 and it's only been as of yesterday that the installation was complete," she said.

Digging began on Aug. 6 for the replacement of the water main and then by Aug. 28 they started doing the routine testing, which proved unsuccessful.

"They spent all of September excavating the new installation looking for leaks," explained Wilhelm-Morden. "It became apparent fairly quickly that there was something wrong with the actual pipe."The faulty pipe was completely removed on Oct. 13 and the installation finished again this week.

Testing is now once again underway.

"Matterhorn is the only street that had this particular pipe," she added. "I don't know why that is... It's very unfortunate for the residents of Matterhorn to be putting up with disruption for the better part of three months."

This is one of the biggest municipal capital projects on the books this year with a goal to improve water quality, increase fire protection and increase flow and pressure in Alpine, among other things. Ponte Bros. was awarded the work; it was the lowest bid of four, coming in at $3.7 million plus another half a million dollar in GST.

When contacted by Pique Matterhorn resident Brad Kasselman said he could appreciate the pressure the contractors are under as they try to wrap up the project before the snow flies.

That said, it's been dusty, and noisy, and bumpy, and inconvenient for three months and there have been days without water.

"It's been a challenging summer on Matterhorn, and for all residents in this part of Alpine," he admitted.

The work will now continue into November, weather permitting.

The mayor said, with the notable exception of Matterhorn, it's been a successful project to date.

The pipe company will have to come to the table for the added costs.

"They'll be on the hook," she added.

Only certain streets in Alpine were on the 2015 work project. The project will continue next year for the remainder of the neighbourhood.