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Leaky valve cause of water main break for North Okanagan community

A map showing affected properties of the water main break in the BX area of Vernon. The regional district the problem had been traced to a leaky valve, and that water service along Buchanan Road could be restored by 6 p.m.
A map showing affected properties of the water main break in the BX area of Vernon. The regional district the problem had been traced to a leaky valve, and that water service along Buchanan Road could be restored by 6 p.m. Google Maps

UPDATE: On Thursday afternoon, the Regional District of the North Okanagan announced that the leak affecting the water main has been repaired, and that customers may resume regular outdoor water use.

However, it noted that a precautionary water quality advisory remains in effect for those customers who were out of water during the repair.

“As a result of the shut off, water quality may be affected for a period after the water is turned back on,” said the regional district. “This may also effect other customers downstream of the main repair, including the BX, east side of Swan Lake, and areas in Coldstream.”

ORIGINAL STORY:

A major water main serving Greater Vernon that underwent an emergency repair could soon be returned to normal service.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Regional District of the North Okanagan (RDNO) said some residents in the BX neighbourhood would have their water shut off for 24 hours, and asked area residents to conserve water during the water-main break repair period.

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On Wednesday, the regional district said the problem had been traced to a leaky valve, and that water service along Buchanan Road could be restored by 6 p.m.

Read more: Major water service interruption for some Vernon, B.C., residents due to water main break

Originally, the RDNO said it was eyeing shutting off water to two other areas, but that it wasn’t needed because area residents did a good job of conserving water.

However, in its Tuesday alert notifying BX residents of the water shut off, the RDNO said, “we estimate that the repair will be completed by Thursday morning, but Greater Vernon Water is asking customers to continue to not use water outdoors until Friday.”

It’s estimated that 20 to 30 properties along Buchanan Road are affected by the water shut off.

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Heavy rain leads to flash flooding in Vernon

John Lord, manager of water distribution for Greater Vernon, said the water main break was traced to a leaky valve along the main transmission line.

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In an interview with Global News on Wednesday morning, Lord said the main transmission lines were installed in the 1960s, and that corrosion can be a problem, but they expect the mains to last quite a while.

“But when metal is in the ground, it does corrode, and we do have these kinds of problems,” said Lord.

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He also said crews tracked down the problem and dug up the site, adding it was possible the site could be backfilled around noon, with water then being reintroduced into the lines.

“Imagine filling a few kilometres of a three-foot diameter pipe,” said Lord. “It’ll take a while because we don’t want to do it too fast.

“If we do it too fast, we’ll create problems in the system, so that’s why it takes a while.”

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