Saturday July 12, 2014

Crews work 20 hours to fix water main

Several businesses in Valleyview near Oriole Road affected

The taps are flowing again for several Valleyview businesses, but that wasn't the case Tuesday night and Wednesday morning as City crews worked feverishly to fix a broken water main that flooded a section of Oriole Road.

Although the worst of the mess was cleaned up by noon, staff at Instaloans and CIBC went without water or use of a toilet for most of the day.

The doors at Starbucks were locked and a sign taped to the glass said no beverages could be made.

Instaloans employee Tara Rennehan said the water stopped working at about 4 p.m. Tuesday — roughly the same time that a flood appeared on Oriole.

"There was just water straight down Oriole. Then, all of a sudden, (City) crew trucks started showing up," said Rennehan.

When she closed the shop at 6 p.m. workers had started tearing up the intersection at Oriole and the Trans-Canada Highway to get at the main.

Jaimie Godard works at the Falcon Market. She said traffic backed up for blocks on Oriole and at least one customer came in to buy water.

"There was one woman who came in quite distraught thinking she was going to go without water on Curlew (Road)," said Godard.

In the end, service on Curlew was not affected, she said, adding her dad lives on that road.

City crews worked all night to replace the damaged valve, but had not resolved the issue by Wednesday morning. Employees at the CIBC were told it could take eight hours to fix.

Rennehan couldn't make coffee or use the toilet. Staff walked across the street to use the bathrooms at the Subway Restaurant. She couldn't understand how Dominos Pizza next door could open without access to water.

"How are you going to open? You don't have water to wash your hands," she said. "We don't have any water. Not a drop."

Staff at Domino's referred questions to their manager, who could not be reached for comment.

Although business continued as normal, Rennehan said she found work uncomfortable because of the inconvenience.

"My bladder is going to burst."

Employees at BA Winexpert knew little about the broken main. Melanie Sangster said she's thankful the water is working because otherwise the business would be closed.

She said the only businesses affected were those west of Oriole along the frontage road.

Repairs were completed by 2 p.m. Wednesday. Mike Firlotte, the City's utilities services manager, said the top of a two-part valve came apart, possibly because of corrosion or ground movement.

"Unfortunately with this one, it was 14 feet down," he said, adding the depth and cold weather made for slow going.

Crews worked in shifts for 20 hours straight to fix the valve. Firlotte didn't know how much the repairs cost.

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