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Calgary water crisis - How Corrosion Threatens Our Infrastructure and What We Can Do About It

Materials.Business Newsletter ⚙️ June 06th, 2024


The Impact of Corrosion in day-to-day life

Corrosion is a silent yet pervasive threat that affects virtually every aspect of our infrastructure. Today, the city of Calgary experienced a significant water main break in the N.W. areas of Bowness and Montgomery. While the cause of this incident is still under investigation, it serves as a stark reminder of the critical role that proactive corrosion management plays in maintaining the integrity of our infrastructure.

Today's Incident

Earlier today, the City of Calgary confirmed an extensive water main break in the Bowness and Montgomery neighborhoods. The full extent of the impacts is still being assessed, and residents are urged to reduce their water use both indoors and outdoors over the next 24 hours. Further instructions and information will be provided as they become available.

A Look Back: The 2004 water incident in Calgary

To understand the potential implications of today's event, it's worth revisiting a similar incident that occurred in Calgary in 2004. A catastrophic failure of a 1200 mm feedermain resulted in the release of 20 million liters of water, flooding roadways and disrupting service to over 100,000 households. The investigation revealed that corrosion, accelerated by sulfate-rich soils, had compromised the pipe's integrity. This incident was a wake-up call for the city, highlighting the urgent need for a proactive approach to infrastructure management.

Proactive Measures and Success Stories

Since 2004, the City of Calgary has implemented an advanced condition assessment strategy for its feedermain network. This strategy combines regular inspections and risk analyses to ensure the safety and reliability of the water distribution system. The program has successfully identified and repaired numerous damaged pipes before they could fail catastrophically. For instance, the assessment of a 15 km feedermain jointly owned with the neighboring city of Airdrie revealed several sections with significant corrosion, which were promptly repaired as a result.

The Importance of Corrosion Management

Corrosion management is not just about preventing failures; it's about ensuring sustainable operations, minimizing environmental impact, and enhancing customer satisfaction. At Infinity Growth, we've long advocated for comprehensive asset integrity management, emphasizing the importance of addressing corrosion at every level. The lessons learned from the City of Calgary's proactive approach underscore the value of investing in infrastructure maintenance and the long-term benefits it brings.

The recent water main break in Calgary is a reminder of the omnipresent threats to our infrastructure and the importance of proactive management. By investing in regular inspections and timely repairs, cities can prevent catastrophic failures, save millions in repair costs, and ensure the continuous, reliable delivery of essential services. At Infinity Growth, we remain committed to promoting best practices in asset integrity management, helping our clients achieve sustainable growth and operational excellence.

Stay tuned for more updates on Calgary's water main break and further insights into corrosion management and infrastructure integrity in our upcoming newsletters.

If you want to read the full paper: Advanced Condition Assessment Strategy for Critical Mains: City of Calgary Case Study, presented in the NWAC in 2019 - send us a message and we will send it your way!

Water restrictions City of Calgary

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