UPDATED: Water main break floods at least one home, Royal Oak Drive reopened

Cause of break remains unknown

Traffic along Royal Oak Drive has resumed Monday afternoon as crews continue to fix a 16-inch water main that ruptured Monday morning.

The rupture flooded an unknown number of homes in the Broadmead area of Saanich as indoor restoration crews were working on at least home in the area.

“We don’t know the extent of the damages yet to the homes in the surrounding area,” said Harley Machielse, Saanich’s director of engineering Monday morning. “We are aware that that there are some homes that have localized flooding,” he said.

The home located in the 4600-block of Lochside Drive is part of a strata. Its manager refused to speak to the Saanich News. It is believed that the owners were not present when the water broke at around 8 a.m.

The break itself happened at the intersection of Royal Oak Drive and Rithetwood Drive and crews responded immediately to deal with it, said Machielse.

About 10,000 gallons of water turned a section of Royal Oak Drive into a standing river that temporarily forced Saanich Police to close off parts of Royal Oak Drive as District of Saanich staff turned off the taps, with area residents and others watching. The road has since re-opened as crews continue to investigate the cause of the break and repair it. It is expected that the work will wrap up later Monday.

Machielse said it is early too tell what caused the break of the water main, which feeds from the Rithet Reservoir. “We are going to have to excavate the area and determine that a little bit later,” he said.

This investigation will among other issues determine whether the recent installation of a drain main near the site of the break contributed to it.

“We recently had a drain main installed in this location,” said Machielse. “But it is too early to tell what the cause might have been,” he said.

While the drain main and the water main represent different pieces of infrastructure, they are in close proximity, he said.

Other potential reasons include among others the age of the pipeline. “There could be a number of factors that could cause a water main break,” said Machielse. “As I said, it is not that common for us, but we have almost 500 kilometres of water-mains. So it can occur, and unfortunately, when it does, it can cause some damage, as shown here today.”

The break buckled at least sidewalk panels that run along the northern side of Royal Oak Drive. “We will have to investigate the roads as well to make that the road structure itself is in good repair, and allows traffic on it,” said Machielse. ” And then we also have some sediment that made its way into the drainage system that we will have to clear out.”

It is too early tell what kind of liabilities the District of Saanich might incur, said Machielse, who could also not comment on the cost of the repairs. Any affected home owners should call their insurance companies to start repairs, he said. “And if there are any issues, they may need to contact the [district] for claims.”

Most of the residents in the area still have water, he said. “But there are some who may not, and that could take the majority of the day before we are able to get a crew out here to make that repair,” he said. “If the public notices any discolouration in the water, they are asked to keep the taps open, let the discolouration dissipate, and then they are safe to drink the water.”

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Sections of Royal Oak Drive flooded Monday morning after a 16-inch water main broke. The road remains closed as District of Saanich crews determine the cause the break. Some 10,000 gallons of water flooded the area, causing “localized flooding” in an unknown number of homes. Wolf Depner / News Staff

Members of the Saanich Fire Department oversee the location, where a 16-inch water main broke Monday morning. The break caused damage to the sidewalk and unknown extent of flooding in Broadmead area homes. Wolf Depner / News Staff

A District of Saanich tries to stop the flooding after a 6-inch water main broke Monday morning. The break happened at 8:50 a.m. and has left several area homes without water as crews try to repair the damage. Wolf Depner / News Staff

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