Most older water mains are made of unlined cast iron. Over the years, these pipes get mineral deposits that, while safe, can decrease water volume in the pipe and discolor water for customers. The water mains in Maple Avenue, Barrington Avenue and South Street were installed before 1935. We knew from customer complaints and flow testing that the pipes had considerable build up (rust) on the insides.
To minimize disruption in the high traffic area, BCWA improved the water mains by “cleaning and lining” the pipes, rather than replacing them. This method allows the work to be completed using several “access pits”, rather than digging trenches along the entire length of the streets. First, crews scraped off the mineral buildup in these mains. Then, a cement lining was installed on the inside of the pipes to prevent the cast iron water main from future mineral build up. The work should effectively double the life of the water mains and keep the water that goes through them clear. (Since the mid-1960s, BCWA has installed ductile iron pipes that come with a factory-installed cement lining for any new water main installations.)
In addition to providing improved water quality to this neighborhood, this project also improved the fireflow available. Tests done on the fire hydrants before and after the cleaning and lining project, confirmed that the many homes and businesses in this area have improved fire protection available through these newly lined pipes.