Leaky Valve Repair

FTLComm - Tisdale - May 31, 2001

At seven this morning my neighbours and I experienced a slight tremor, not an earthquake but the thud of the backhoe bucket gauging into the street just a few yards away (above). Eleven feet below a valve had failed and water was leaking and rising to the surface. It had to be fixed.

This is a new valve (right) ready to be installed. Immersed deep in the ground the chemical action of the soil and the metal in the bolts and pipes interact and in this case the result was failure to contain the flow of water in the system.

As we struggle with our concerns about drinking

It is not particularly comforting to note that so much water is lost every year not by being poured onto lawns and gardens but through holes in the pipes. In some communities the loss is as great as 1/3 of all water used in the community just gets out of the pipes.

It took almost an hour to get the pavement, overburden and clear a safe zone around the faulty valve. But there it is dribbling away. The plan was to slice off the mains on each side of the valve, put in new pieces with a new valve. That was the plan, but another faulty valve more than a block away refused to close and the crew went to plan "B".

Fortunately the valve here was itself in fine working order. The problem was discovered to be the bolts on its housing had rooted away two were all but gone entirely. With new bolts in hand the workman took out
what was left of the old ones and installed new bolts and the line and valve were once more secure. By eleven the hole was filled with fresh gravel, the material from the hole hauled away and the crew were off to another job. There are lots of streets to dig up.
We have lived in our Tisdale house for nearly six years and this is the third hole within a hundred feet of our doorstep. The first of these was on the opposite corner of this same intersection when it was discovered that the sewer drain went up hill from the house. Then our house was having problems with sewer and it was discovered that a tree on the boulevard had put its roots into the sewer line and it had to be extracted and so did its roots.