The ceiling of the District of Houston reservoir on Mountainview drive has cracks and exposed and rusting rebar

District faces deteriorating water reservoir

The ceiling of Houston's 2.27 million litre water reservoir has cracks and exposed and rusting rebar, and needs repairs within five years.

The District of Houston will be fixing their water reservoir in the next five years.

Michael Glavin, Director of Engineering & Development Services, gave a presentation at the Jan. 22 town council meeting about damage to Houston’s 2.27 million litre water reservoir just off Mountainview Drive.

Glavin said that a quarter-inch-thick chunk of concrete was found in fall 2011 in the District of Houston reservoir during a routine cleaning .

The reservoir is used to store water for firefighting and manage peak hour demands for water.

Council hired Opus DaytonKnight Consultants Ltd. who did an inspection in Sept. 2012.

They sent a report to council Dec. 21, 2012, stating that they had found cracks and exposed rebar which was starting to rust, Glavin said.

“Once the rust starts, it just expands into the structure itself and starts compromising the integrity of the structure,” said Glavin.

“It’s about over 50 per cent of the reservoir that’s being compromised now,” he said.

Glavin says the consultant suggests that the exposed rebar and thickness of the piece of concrete found show the reservoir was likely not built to standard.

Glavin also noted a 2006 water systems check done by Opus DaytonKnight which showed the reservoir has enough water storage for residential fires, but not enough for commercial fires.

Glavin said that was proven with the recent townhouse fire, when they had both pumps running full capacity and after a few hours the reservoir levels were starting to drop because pumps bringing water in couldn’t keep up.

The 2006 Opus DaytonKnight report said a second reservoir should be built, and suggested a site on Mt. Davis Way, as it would give the east side of the Highway 16 overpass fire protection services and allow for more development in that area, said Glavin.

Glavin says that they have to build a new reservoir regardless, because in dealing with the existing reservoir, they cannot just shut it down to fix the roof, because water storage could be used up by households and there would be no capacity for firefighting.

Glavin says that to build an alternate reservoir on the existing site using the pipes and infrastructure already in place, would cost an estimated $1,250,000, and to build a reservoir on Mt. Davis Way would cost an added million dollars – for an estimated total of $2,250,000.

He says they could also replace the roof of the existing reservoir for close to $620,000, or they could repair the roof for close to $350,000.

Glavin says that if they chose to repair the roof, they would need to first find out the life expectancy of the existing roof, and do a structural study on it to make sure it would be able to handle an added layer of concrete, which would add over $25,000 to the cost.

Glavin says the current Opus DaytonKnight report suggests council put the project into their five-year plan, indicating that the life expectancy of the roof is roughly five years.

Asked if this was what he expected, Houston Mayor Bill Holmberg it was.

“We knew there was deterioration in the cap, we didn’t know to what degree… that’s why we had the study done to see how much time we have left,” Holmberg said, adding that council will decide how to move forward over the next few council meetings and put it into their five-year plan.

“We know where we’re at now and we’re going to move ahead accordingly. We know we have some maintenance and replacement issues we have to deal with and hopefully the provincial government will have some money they can give us for it,” Holmberg said.