The University of Saskatchewan shut down all non-essential services on the main campus just before noon on Oct. 21 due to difficulties arising from sewer work on College Drive. This led to all daytime classes being cancelled. However, classes resumed at 6 p.m. the same day. The Murray Library — including the university archives and the art department — was also closed for the day
Work to find a solution to the problem led to reduced water pressure on the campus.
When City of Saskatoon workers went to replace an underground valve on Oct. 19, they found that a major water main within the campus vicinity was in unusable condition. According to one of the workers on site, who chose to remain anonymous, the water line had a number of holes in it.
“Right now, they’re trying to figure out if they want to fix it or replace it,” the worker said.
At this point, the water main is still highly pressurized and is a significant safety hazard. Because of the size of the line and the fact that it feeds a number of secondary pipes, workers are having difficulty reducing the flow of water enough to make further work on the line safe.
A second city worker said that if the line were to break due to the pressure, College Drive would be completely flooded, further reducing the flow of traffic on the road. The eastbound lanes of College Drive that were closed from Oct. 19–21, were partially reopened on Oct. 22
Workers attempted to weld patches onto the line on Oct. 20, but the repairs were unsuccessful due to the pressure on the line.
The water line in question is approximately 100 years old and as a result, finding parts to repair it has proven difficult. Workers said the earliest the replacement parts could arrive is Oct. 25.
City workers encouraged students and motorists to be patient while the situation is resolved as their work is largely dependent on the availability of replacement parts.
In an email sent out to the campus community, university officials assured students and faculty that U of S water is safe for consumption.
Photo: Jordan Dumba/Photo Editor