During its June 28 regular meeting, MD of Pincher Creek council approved spending $30,100 to replace fire hydrants in Lundbreck. The money will come from the water and wastewater infrastructure reserve.
About half a century old, the hydrants are still operable in the event of a fire emergency but have sunk or otherwise become buried, putting their valve boxes out of easy reach. If an unexpected water release were to occur, crews would first have to dig out the valve box before shutting off the valves.
The risk was identified over five years ago and the replacement project was flagged last year for completion, though the MD was not able to secure an estimate that correctly identified the scope of work needing to be completed.
Crews will need to expose underground lines, replace valves and hydrants, install hydrant protective restraints and blocks below equipment to help prevent future settling, and complete the necessary backfilling and asphalt work. The valve boxes will also need to be updated to meet regulations.
Drawing on his career experience as a firefighter, Coun. Dave Cox said that when public works replaces the hydrants they should forgo replacing their pipe protections.
“I understand the rationale for putting a protection around it, but it makes the hydrant unavailable in the wintertime,” he said.
“They drift in from snow, you can’t shovel snow to get at them, and so if you actually have to hook to those hydrants it’s a fight to get hooked up.”
While the protections are in place to prevent vehicles from colliding with hydrants, Cox said most hydrants are placed without protection since they are designed not to release water in the event of a collision.
Administration has since determined the restraints would be installed as an extra precaution, particularly for hydrants in areas where the hazard is high for collision.
A timeline has not yet been set for the replacement project.
Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze