Sackville residents who live in about 600 homes south of Lorne Street have been told to boil their tap water this week after unexpected problems developed with the installation of new water mains.
Town engineer Dwayne Acton told Sackville councillors last night that the trouble began Monday morning after a construction crew started the $5.9 million project by cutting the water line at the corner of Lorne and Bridge Streets.
Three customers on Lorne Street had been notified that their water would be cut off all morning, but the town soon started receiving calls from residents south of Lorne Street. Some reported reduced water pressure while others said they had no water at all.
Acton said engineers had planned to continue pumping water up St. James to serve those nearby neighbourhoods, but for some reason, the six inch water line couldn’t seem to handle the flow.
“We had to make a quick decision,” he said, adding that he notified the provincial department of health which imposed an immediate boil-water order.
He explained that boil orders are imposed automatically whenever pressure in the system drops below 20 pounds per-square-inch because water that has already entered a home can potentially flow back into the system creating high levels of bacteria.
“The department of health do not take any chances in this,” Acton told council. “It’s cut and dried, they tell us automatically [there’s a] boil order.”
He said town staff put the word out on Sentinel, the town’s emergency public alert system, as well as Twitter, Facebook and the town’s website. Staff also distributed flyers door-to-door to make sure no one drinks the water.
The boil order will remain in effect until two consecutive tests on separate days show the water is free of contamination and that can’t happen until Thursday at the earliest, Acton said.
“We apologize for the mix-up,” he added. “It was…unforeseen.”
For more information and a complete list of the affected neighbourhoods, click here.