A ‘critical’ storm pipe that flows beneath the historic downtown is in unknown condition and would be very costly to replace.

A ‘critical’ storm pipe that flows beneath the historic downtown is in unknown condition and would be very costly to replace.

Condition of ‘critical’ sewer pipe under Abbotsford’s historic downtown unknown

If pipe fails or needs replacing, cost would be ‘very high,’ new city report says

The city doesn’t know the condition of a “critical” pipe that runs beneath the historic downtown and is a vital part of the system that drains central Abbotsford when storms occur.

If the pipe fails or needs replacing, the cost would be “very high,” according to a new city report. But just how high is unclear.

The pipe was installed downstream from Ravine Park decades ago when the area developed and the bottom of the ravine was filled in. Described as a “large diameter storm sewer pipe,” it flows through the historic downtown, draining water from Mill Lake, Ravine Park and the surrounding area.

The pipe is currently considered “marginally undersized to meet current criteria.” But the condition of the pipe appears to be of more concern than its size.

A report compiled as part of work on a new stormwater management plan says assessing the condition of the pipe is a “high priority.” That would include a video inspection. The results of that assessment will determine the city’s strategy for managing the pipe. One option would be to explore how to restrict the flow of water into the storm sewer inlet at the bottom of Mill Lake Ravine Park.

Just inspecting the sewer line and studying restricting the flow into the pipe would cost $70,000. It is still to be determined just how much it would cost to replace the pipes downstream from the park.

The pipe currently runs beneath privately owned properties, instead of city right-of-ways and roads, as is typical. If the city were to replace the piping, it could seek to do so beneath city roads – in particular, Montrose Avenue.

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