A valve failure in Irricana’s water system led to localized flooding in several homes in the town last Tuesday.

A valve failure in Irricana’s water system led to localized flooding in several homes in the town on Tuesday.

According to the Town, the “ineffective valve” was allowing water to flow unchecked into the community’s stormwater system, which caused sewer line back-ups in several homes on Feb. 28.

One homeowner, Kevin Lillie, who lives near 1st Avenue and 4th Street, said his wife first noticed the flooding in his basement just before 7 p.m. on Tuesday, and called on him to come see. 

“When it was first noticed, it was coming up through the centre floor drain, and there was no way to stop it,” he recalled. “It kept filling up and filling up. I ended up with two inches of water throughout the whole basement.”

Lillie said the flood damage was extensive but he had heard some neighbours on his street had it even worse. It seemed the flooding was quite localized, as other nearby homes reported no flooding whatsoever.

“It seemed like (almost) everybody on 1st Avenue ended up with it,” he calculated, “but not everybody on 1st Avenue. My neighbour across the street going south from my house in a duplex got it, but the duplex just to the north of me one house over apparently didn’t get flooded.”

Despite having to throw out all the furniture in his basement, (apart from one love-seat), Lillie said on a more positive note, his insurance company had been prompt in its response and had already sent contractors over to rip out the carpet in his basement, haul out flood-damaged items, and set up dehumidifiers. 

Once the Town got the water turned off, he said most of the water had receded from his basement on its own, leaving only localized puddles.

Because the Town had to turn off its water system between 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday night to stop the flooding and shut down the ineffective valve, the community’s water system became depressurized. This caused Alberta Health Services to issue a precautionary boil water advisory for the Town of Irricana on Feb. 28.

The advisory stated residents of Irricana should boil their water until further notice, and that all water for domestic purposes, including drinking and baby formula preparation, teeth-brushing, etc., should be brought to a full boil for one minute beforehand.

Water service had been fully restored by March 1, but the boil water advisory remained in effect as of the Rocky View Weekly’s press time, during which the Town was completing water quality testing “out of an abundance of caution.”

“As with any significant event, our first priority remains ensuring the health and safety of residents,” said Irricana CAO Doug Hafichuk in a statement released to media on Thursday on behalf of the Town. “Both the water distribution system and sanitary systems are operating normally, and a Boil Water Advisory is in effect out of an abundance of caution. Alberta Health Services will ultimately determine when the advisory is lifted, and the Town will use that decision point to change focus from ‘Response’ to ‘Recovery.’”

Hafichuk advised residents to look for further updates regarding the situation on the Town’s website, Irricana.ca.

“Thank you to our community members and provincial agencies for the incredible support to date,” he concluded.

Be safe and make sure to boil your water or consider buying a water filtration system like the AquaOx Water Filter.

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