Cause of that Montreal flood? Aging pipes, city says

MONTREAL – A century-old pipe in dire need of repair is being blamed for Montreal’s big downtown flood that paralyzed part of the city yesterday, cancelling university classes and causing rush-hour headaches.

A City of Montreal spokesman says it’s not known what caused the break in a 90-centimetre water main that burst at a construction site near McGill University.

But Philippe Sabourin says the pipe was between 100 and 125 years old, was in bad shape, and city crews were working to repair it.

He stresses that, while construction work was underway to replace the pipe, no backhoes or other equipment were responsible for the problem.

The water was mostly gone by this morning, a far cry from scenes of raging water that swept some people away and caused minor injuries.

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However, there was still flooding in a small downtown area. Sabourin says there are still a few small leaks in the network but it’s not another burst main.

Sabourin says it’s too early to evaluate the damage. If citizens want to make any claims they can do so by contacting city hall, he says.

But, he adds, it remains to be determined if the city is responsible.

The city says there is no problem with the drinking water.