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Water pipe to Arrow Heights threatened, floods probable cause

This portion of exposed water pipe on the Illecillewaet River is now covered in ice and snow, meaning a permanent fix will have to wait until thaw.  - City of Revelstoke image
This portion of exposed water pipe on the Illecillewaet River is now covered in ice and snow, meaning a permanent fix will have to wait until thaw.
— image credit: City of Revelstoke image

The main drinking water supply pipe to Arrow Heights that crosses the Illecillewaet River near the industrial park has been exposed by erosion. The heavy rains in June are a likely culprit, senior city staff believe.

The large pipe was buried under rocks and earth under the river, but it’s now completed exposed to the river, causing city engineers to worry about water integrity and possible future damage.

On Dec. 12, City of Revelstoke development services director Mike Thomas told the city’s development services committee that an engineering consultant has been hired to investigate the situation and find solutions.

If the pipe is breached, it would cut off supplies feeding a reservoir that services Arrow Heights and Revelstoke Mountain Resort.

Thomas said an alternate pipe runs across the Illecillewaet River Bridge, and that it could be used to replenish the reservoir. Barring any serious incidents, like a big fire, the back-up system should be able to maintain water supplies, Thomas said.

City public works manager Darren Komonoski said city staff perform routine spring patrols of city infrastructure, and the exposed pipe was not noted then. A passerby and former city employee recently noticed the exposed pipe while out for a walk by the river. The timeline caused city staff to speculate the damage was caused by the June floods that drove raging torrents of water through Canmore and flooded other Alberta cities like High River and Calgary.

Thomas said city staff have an emergency response plan in place and are now developing a long-term solution to the issue.

In the week following the flash flooding, a city emergency coordinator told the Times Review the wet weather system was originally forecast to pass over Revelstoke. The bulk of the precipitation veered south of town.

 

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