GEORGE NEWS - Repairs to the water pipeline along the Kaaimans Bridge between George and Wilderness was a "massive undertaking" and a host of role players cooperated to make it possible, the George Municipality said in a statement.
Water was restored on Friday 18 October, a day earlier than anticipated. A temporary pipeline was laid between the rail tracks after two sections of the pipeline fell off the bridge into the river on Sunday 6 October, due to extensive corrosion of the walkway to which the existing pipeline had been attached.
Residents had to cope with low water pressure and Wilderness Heights was without water for a few days, but the municipality supplied water tankers.
Chantel Edwards-Klose, municipal communications chief, said given the location of the repair, intensive pre-planning and permissions from Transnet for access to and installation of the pipeline were needed. Transnet provided a rail truck and trolley for transporting materials and equipment from the level crossing near Carmel to the railway bridge.
A safety plan had to be submitted to the Labour Department. Working on Fire provided high altitude teams (HATs) to install the safety measures on the bridge before the actual installation of the pipeline could start. The main contractor, Qualcon Civils, provided basic training to the HAT in the installation of the 180-metre pipeline. It consisted of 30 six-metre lengths of 110kg each.
Edwards-Klose said the water treatment works in Wilderness has a fixed production capacity that is augmented by water from George along the railway bridge. "The monitoring of the water levels in the six reservoirs that service the Wilderness area was a 24-hour job."
Role players in the repair project included Transnet, GRDM Disaster Management and Working on Fire HAT teams, the George fire department, George municipal communications department, OHS Inc, Uhambiso Consult, Qualcon Civils and DPI Trading. Henry Jansen, deputy director of Water and Wastewater, ran as the lead on the repair project and his teams were lauded for their dedication.
The municipality previously said the pipeline is only a temporary measure and that other means of supplying water to Wilderness are being investigated. Municipal Manager Trevor Botha said,"Going forward we have no detailed future plans [for a permanent solution] available at this stage, but the investigation is at an advanced stage and a report is expected in due course".
Public access to the bridge remains prohibited due to the unsafe conditions.