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Burst water pipes show need for speed

Burst water mains in Farnham Ave near Highbury Ave at the weekend have highlighted the need for the Palmerston North City Council to speed up its pipe replacement programme.

The fire brigade and council depot staff were called out several times, including a call at 3am on Saturday, to deal with leaks.

City council water asset engineer Dora Luo said there were some valve operation issues which saw water pressure in the pipes raised a little higher than normal.

Some of the old asbestos-concrete (AC) pipes cracked under the pressure.

Luo said the AC pipes had been installed between 1958 and 1960, and were near the end of their useful life.

Since 2006 the council had targeted the replacement of cast iron pipes, which were the source of complaints about discoloured water.

That programme had been largely successful, but now the delay in replacing the AC pipes was starting to take its toll.

The renewal of AC pipes began in 2012, but in the last year there had been an increase in the rate of failures.

“A review of the city AC pipe renewal strategy has been done which has confirmed that the actual useful life of AC pipe is shorter than originally expected.”

There is $1.27 million in the budget for the financial year starting today for water pipe replacements.

Luo said an increased sum of $2m a year had been recommended to the review of the Long Term Plan next year.

The goal was to ensure the number of pipe bursts did not get worse over the next two years, and after that, the replacement programme should result in a decline in failures.

There was also a fault in Dorset Cres at the weekend, but Luo said that was related to pipe fittings.

Manawatu Standard

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