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Port Alberni under emergency water restrictions after logging truck crash

Incident severed city’s main water supply line; restrictions in place ‘until further notice’
Emergency crews respond to a logging truck crash on Franklin River Road just outside the City of Port Alberni on March 9, 2023. (SUSAN QUINN / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

The Port Alberni area is currently under water restrictions after a logging truck crash damaged the city’s main water supply line.

The City of Port Alberni and the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) are asking residents to limit water use until further notice. Stage 3 water restrictions have been implemented, effective immediately, for the City of Port Alberni, Hupačasath First Nation, Tseshaht First Nation, the Beaver Creek Water Local Service Area, and the Franklin River Road area. These restrictions will be in place until further notice. Residents are asked to conserve as much water as possible during this time.

The city’s director of engineering and public works, Rob Dickinson, said he expects the water line to be operational again by the evening of Friday, March 10.

“We think we can get this repaired quickly enough that we didn’t have to go straight to Stage 4 restrictions, which will affect commercial businesses” he explained.

The water line was damaged after a motor vehicle accident on Franklin River Road involving an unloaded logging truck. Dickinson said the truck veered off the road and went into a ravine, damaging approximately 10 metres of the city’s main water line and structural supports.

Dickinson said the city has “all but one” of the replacement parts for the water line, and they were able to obtain the last part from the City of Courtenay.

Water quality is unaffected by this incident, and water continues to be safe for consumption but the city is asking for water use to be limited to essential use. Dickinson said people should forgo showers, washing dishes and flushing toilets when possible.

In Stage 3 water restrictions, the outdoor washing of cars, boats and houses, as well as driveways and sidewalks, using treated drinking water is prohibited. The refilling of private pools, spas and garden ponds is also prohibited.

The city and ACRD activated their Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in response to the incident, sending out notifications via the Voyent Alert! app. City CAO Tim Pley says the EOC works best when activated early.

“Not knowing the severity of the incident at first, we wanted to be able to pull the resources we needed to be ahead of this,” he said.

The city and ACRD will provide updates on the water line break through their social media channels and will send out another message through Voyent Alert! when the break is repaired.

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