Some QC residents have been turning their town water off without permission, Victor La Boucane told the management committee at its Jan. 22 meeting.
Where a home’s water system joins the town’s, there is a valve that belongs to the town, says Mr. La Boucane. Usually each home has its own valve, but in some cases, more than one residence could be affected by turning off the water. A couple of times since the fall, he has discovered people turning off the valves at the curb to work on their own lines. “There’s been some unauthorized activity,” he says. “It happens enough that it’s a concern.”
“It caused a little grief last fall, and if it keeps up, it will again,” he told the committee. If someone shut off the water incorrectly and damaged the valve, it could cost the town as much as $1,500 to repair. Taxpayers would likely get stuck with the bill.
The water can be turned off using a key anyone can get from a plumbing supplier, said Mr. La Boucane. “I don’t really mind as long as they know what they’re doing, but they need to let us know.” He needs to know when people have accessed the lines so that if any trouble later arises he can deal with it quickly.
Water and Sewer Commissioner Mark Salzl will write a letter advising people who plan to turn off the water that they are required to notify public works. Mr. La Boucane can keep the letter on file and mail it out to the appropriate persons as needed.
During his report to the committee, Mr. La Boucane also gave an update on the repairs to the lift station on Bay Street, damaged during the Christmas Eve storm. Concrete has been poured and new rip rap laid down at a cost of about $1,600. The Ministry of Highways helped with two loads of rip rap.
Public works spent some time turning off leaks in the water system after the cold snap earlier this month. At some unoccupied houses, the water had not been turned off, and the cold caused the pipes to burst. Mr. La Boucane and his assistant found the leaks and shut off water to those homes. The water will remain off until the owners make appropriate repairs. Because of the leaks, water usage jumped up to 150,000 gallons a day from the normal daily consumption of 120,000 to 130,000 but the system was able to cope, and usage has since dropped back to normal.
Management committee chair Anne Mountifield recalled that not too long ago, the town was struggling to meet demand for 225,000 gallons a day because of two big leaks on Hippy Hill and Forestry Hill.
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