Council scrambles to plug Tin Can Bay water woes
Gympie Regional Council is scrambling to bring back a regular maintenance program to help stem the flow of Tin Can Bay water main failures, which have plagued the coastal town since late last year.
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Bay residents were left stranded in the middle of sweltering heat on December 2, after multiple burst pipes cut the town’s water supply that morning. The water supply was later restored hours earlier than expected.
In last week’s workshop and councillor briefing at the Town Hall it was confirmed there had been a “series of mains breaks” in the water network 0n and after that date, all “within the high zone, with the majority around the commercial area of Dolphin Avenue and Gympie Road”.
A further two breaks at Cooloola Cove were “considered unrelated” to those at Tin Can Bay.
The main pressure reducing valve was checked last month, and inspections found the pilot lines were blocked, despite the PRV being installed only eight months before.
Councillors were told last week a “regular maintenance program” of the PRVs would need to be reinstated and carried out once a year, or possibly twice a year for the main PRV because of the issues it had already encountered.
A council spokeswoman this week said there were two reasons why regular work wasn’t already being done.
“Council has been going through a period of change, and the previous contractor engaged for this work no longer offers this service,” the spokeswoman said.
“Council is reviewing the condition and criticality of our assets and information from incidents such as this will inform the priorities for maintenance work, such as the PRV valve itself having been recently replaced.
“The control piping for the pressure reducing valve became blocked, rather than the valve itself, which was unexpected so soon after installation. This information will be used to determine if maintenance frequencies change from expected industry practice.
“The reservoir valve has remained operational throughout this period, and the investigations showed it was not the identified cause of the high water pressures. It has had the initial service (at a cost of) $800.”
The spokeswoman said maintenance was expected to be complete by March, with extra costs up to about $1100.
She said the public was aware of each break, and had reported leaks or lack of water to the council.