IRISHTOWN-SUMMERSIDE — Residents of Summerside may be reimbursed for damage in their homes resulting from a mechanical error in the town’s water system.
After a series of recent water breaks resulted in lengthy outages, and in some cases flooding and blown water tanks, concerned residents formed an online petition Monday calling on the town to resolve the ongoing problem and reimburse residents for the cost of any incurred damages or repairs.
Last Friday, crews from Atlantic Engineering, as well as Gerry Lahey of the Department of Environment and Conservation, determined the issue was a defect in the town’s pumphouse which was giving incorrect water pressure readings.
Town of Irishtown-Summerside deputy mayor Lloyd Burton said the system relies on gravity flow rather than pumps for its water pressure. In a chlorination building, the pressure from the pond is reduced from 100 pounds per square inch (PSI) to 10-15 PSI.
“If that momentarily doesn’t work, you get that big buildup in pressure and by the time it gets downtown you could easily have over 200 pounds of pressure,” Burton said, referring to a water hammer, which causes water to come surging through a system virtually unabated.
“Hopefully from here on in there will be no more issues in the Summerside area,” Mayor Clarence Diamond said, noting the Irishtown portion of town has been spared from the issue since it has a separate water supply. “Because of the pressure reducing valve and the pumphouse not reading correctly, it’s possible the town may reimburse residents of Summerside.”
While none of the citizens who signed the petition were present at a meeting Tuesday where council determined reimbursement may be provided on a case-by-case basis, Burton said those who’ve had damage to their homes should submit bills to council.
He said many complaints may not involve damages at all, but be the result of water outages or odd noises sometimes caused by a vacuum in a resident’s line.
“We don’t really know how many had actual damage yet until we get the bills coming in,” he said. “Some people may not of had a pressure reducing valve on, and we’ve warned people about that. Other valves are older and may have stopped working.
“Also, if you have a hot water tank with the overflow just directed at the wall or at the floor, that can lead to flooding issues because it should be directed into a drain or large laundry tub.”
As of Thursday afternoon, the online petition had received seven signatures and one anonymous one. Despite numerous attempts, The Western Star were unable to reach any of these residents for comment on the issue as of press time Thursday.