2021 Award of Excellence

A Tight Squeeze – Comox Valley Watermain Leak Drama
Owner: Comox Valley Regional District   |  Courtenay, Vancouver Island

About the Project

Less than four months before the beginning of peak water demand season, the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) discovered a massive leak in the 900mm diameter steel transmission main providing 83% of its water. CVRD’s ability to provide drinking water and fire protection to its 45,000 residents and associated businesses was in serious jeopardy. The leak was in the worst possible location: under a wide, fast-flowing river with high fisheries values at the foot of an 11-metre high forested bank and opposite a fish hatchery.

CVRD faced a range of virtually impossible options, including building an expensive bypass, excavating the river, or defying gravity to suck the pipe dry. CVRD hired trusted advisors McElhanney to devise a strategy to help them out of their crisis in time for peak water demand season.  Instead of adopting one of the expensive and undesirable options already identified, McElhanney assembled a team of experts to brainstorm solutions, resulting in a previously unforeseen strategy to deploy divers to repair the pipe internally while it was full of water.

After designing a unique safety program for this dangerous operation, and overcoming extraordinary delays, the team completed the repair 24 hours before the beginning of peak demand season. So successful was the project that when the CVRD’s Manager of Water Services submitted a request to his Board for additional funding for the repair, instead of the reprimand he was expecting, he received an ovation.

Service(s) Provided
Project Management, Design, Materials Orders, Safety Procedures, Construction Management

Additional Team Members

Knappett Industries Ltd. – General Contractor
CanWest Mechanical Inc. – Pipe Fabrication and Installation
Hydra Marine Services – Submerged Welding
Pacific Flow Control Ltd. – Hot Taps
Acuren Group Inc. – Weld Testing
Corrosion Service Company Ltd. – Corrosion Consultant
Jim Walsh – Senior Advisor

Want to learn more?
Visit mcelhanney.com


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