A burst water main created a giant sink hole in the intersection of Wilkinson Road and Burnside Road West in Saanich on Saturday

Burst water main at Burnside West repaired but homes damaged

A burst pipe created a gaping sink hole and flooded homes in the neighbourhood of Burnside Road West and Wilkinson Road

The cause of a massive water main break that spewed nine million litres of water through a Saanich neighbourhood early Saturday morning can be traced to a weakened fitting on a cast-iron pipe.

Four homes suffered considerable damage after water burst through the pavement at the intersection of Burnside Road West and Wilkinson Road and caused a gaping sink hole.

“The problem was a cap on a fitting, constructed in the 1950s, and based on methods of the day, it wasn’t restrained as well as it would have been today,” said Ted Robbins, general manager of the CRD’s integrated water services.

Saanich and the CRD partnered to drain and fill the hole, which was repaved by 10 p.m. Saturday night.

“Given the age of some of the regional systems, primarily municipal systems, there are risks like this around. But based on the life expectancy for a section like this, we would expect 75 years, except in this case,” Robbins said.

While some homeowners now face major cleanup and repair costs, other neighbours were impressed by the speed and efficiency of municipal and Capital Regional District crews in repairing the pipes and sinkhole.

“I couldn’t believe it would be completed so soon,” said Gary Hurl, owner-operator of Wigglebums Doggy Daycare at the now repaved corner adjacent to the fomerly chaotic scene.

“I was here Saturday morning to see the sink hole, and by Sunday afternoon it was all patched up. I was shocked too see how smooth Saanich did it,” he said.

(Photos by Gary Hurl)

Hurl lives nearby on the Saanich side of the Gorge. He knows he’s lucky, as one homeowner who recently finished a renovation is back to square one, he said.

The burst pipe created a gaping sink hole and flooded homes in the neighbourhood, releasing an estimated nine million litres of water in about 90 minutes until the pressurized pipe was shut off at the local lift station.

Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard said a 911 call reporting a rolled vehicle on the Trans Canada Highway between Tillicum Road and Helmcken as the first point of contact regarding the burst.

Burnside West and the highway (in both directions) were closed as gushing waters not only reached the highway but also filled at least one home and damaged several more at nearby Belgrave Road.  Drinking water was restored less than 24 hours later.

“Water impacted 12 homes, four of those quite seriously, and for all those people our (Emergency Social Services) were available,” Leonard said.

The gaping sink hole developed in the intersection of Burnside Road West and Wilkinson Road Saturday morning. The burst is the biggest incident of its kind in Saanich since an estimated 30,000 litres of sewage leaked in Cordova Bay in March of 2012.

The CRD has put $130 million into infrastructure replacement programs of water lines since 1995, with another $22 million over the next five years, he added. The cause of the break likely wouldn’t have been scheduled for replacement until 2030, Robbins said.

reporter@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island riders conquering new heights

With no races, cyclists tackle Everest challenge to lift community

Saanich police search for suspect accused of using stolen credit, debit cards

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers says suspect made numerous fraudulent purchases

Homeless woman sentenced to 18 months in jail for selling drugs to Victoria police officer

Officer paid $20 for a substance consisting of heroin, fentanyl and caffeine

Family restaurant to hold Saturday fundraiser for Beirut blast

Wrap and Roll will donate all sales to victims of blast

Police looking for witnesses of alleged assault in Burnside Gorge’s Cecila Ravine

Concerned woman pushed to the ground, had phone broken while taking a photo of a dog

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Vancouver Island team takes on wacky challenges of world’s largest scavenger hunt

Greatest International Scavenger Hunt taking place Aug. 1-8

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Aug. 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should it be mandatory to wear masks when out in public?

B.C. is witnessing an alarming rise in the number of cases of… Continue reading

Most Read