WorkSafe BC has ordered a halt to construction of the 216 Street leg of a $33.5 million Langley Township project to bring Metro Vancouver water to Aldergrove and Gloucester.
Langley Township general manager of engineering and community development Ramin Seifi said work on the pipeline was shut down by the provincial workplace safety regulator on June 21 because of a disagreement over the contractor’s plans to have people work inside the three-foot diameter pipe.
Seifi was responding to a question by Councillor David Davis at the Monday afternoon meeting of council.
In response to a question from Councillor Kim Richter, Seifi estimated the setback will delay completion of the 216 Street section about four to six weeks, but should not affect the overall project because work on other aspects is continuing.
“They’re just not laying any pipe,” he said.
In an email response to a follow-up query by The Times, Township water resources and environment manager Kevin Larsen said the stop work order “could not necessarily have been anticipated in our opinion.”
“It is our understanding that past industry practice (design and construction of this type) has been similar to our project,” Larsen added.
“The project team was notified by WorkSafe BC that this project was selected for further scrutiny than other past projects of a similar nature.”
The contractor, Pedre Contractors Ltd. of Langley, did not respond to a Times request for comment.
About two kilometres of a seven-kilometre stretch of pipe had been installed at the time of the stop work order.
The WorkSafe inspection report that led to the order said the contractor “has not prepared and effectively implemented a confined space entry program at this jobsite,” calling the written safety procedures “lacking in detail for each work activity and very difficult to read and confusing.”
The “pipeline was not effectively ventilated,” the report said.
WorkSafe inspectors wanted an increase in the number of manholes “for the purpose of ventilation, respiratory protection, rescue and etc.” while Pedre argued the extra hatches would breach the pipe warranty, slow the speed of construction and “will increase the chance of bacterial contamination” of the drinking water.
The East Langley Water Supply project is the biggest project ever undertaken by the Township of Langley’s engineering department.
It involves 14 kilometres of water main and a booster pump station.
Phase 1 will run a one-metre diameter steel water main between Willoughby and Murrayville following 72 Avenue, 210 Street, Worrell Crescent, 216 Street, 56 Avenue, and 224 Street.
Work started May 1 and is scheduled to run Monday to Friday until December of this year.
East Langley is currently served by seven groundwater wells.
Every summer, when usage peaks, water restrictions have to be enforced.
The Aldergrove Community Plan projects increased demand for water, with the population in the area growing from 12,000 to 20,000 people over the next 20 to 30 years.