Valve operations cause water main bursts

SA Water has determined the cause behind a series of water main bursts in Paradise, Adelaide.

SA Water and the River Murray Minister, Ian Hunter said a report detailing the incidents found the pipe bursts were related to valve operations on the water storage tanks at the Hope Valley Water Treatment Plant during planned maintenance.

“The report identified that during the draining of a treated water tank, a series of valves were operated in a sequence that likely caused a pressure surge in the network, rupturing the 450mm water main in several locations in the Paradise area,” Mr Hunter said.

SA Water has put in place interim operating procedures to ensure these types of situations are managed effectively, until longer term corrective actions can be put in place.

“As a result of the report demonstrating the burst was likely caused by an operational error, it will be reimbursing affected residents who have experienced damage or loss,” Mr Hunter said.

“SA Water staff were back on site yesterday to update affected residents and ensure they are getting whatever help they need.”

Mr Hunter has called for rapid change in SA Water’s incident response processes, particularly around attending incidents to assist and talk with affected customers to help them work through what are highly distressing situations, alongside the prompt response from technical crews.

“What occurred was obviously highly distressing for people living in the area where the flooding occurred,” Mr Hunter said.

“It is important SA Water fully understands the circumstances behind the Paradise incident so steps can be taken to ensure these types of events do not occur in the future.

“What is equally important is that in any future incident where people’s’ homes or possessions are damaged or under threat, SA Water have people on the ground to provide immediate assistance.”

SA Water commenced the investigation of the cause of the burst immediately, and collated data from all sources to determine the cause.

The SA Water board has also instigated a review of the response processes in relation to major incidents, with a view to improving their processes for compensation for losses.

Until the board is able to announce the result of this review, SA Water will continue to work with impacted customers and insurers to ensure they can return to their homes as soon as possible.

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