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Learning to quell a geyser

27 June 2022

Staying calm when there’s a four-metre high geyser of water shooting into the sky is all part of a day’s work for Citycare Water crews working on reactive maintenance.

There’s also a bit of detective work required when Citycare Water crews arrive at the site of a leak.

Signs of a burst service line were evident when the Citycare Water Timaru Team recently arrived at a reactive maintenance job in the semi-industrial area of Washdyke where water was coming to the surface from a leak, Senior Waterserviceperson Mario Oostendorp says.

Releasing some pressure on the pipe by hydro excavating some material away led to a four-metre high gushing geyser, a five-hour fix and a great learning opportunity for Trainee Water Serviceperson Nathan Pawson.

Mario organised for a hydrovac team to shift a bit of aggregate to uncover what was wrong. Then the geyser erupted and coping with that was a new experience for Nathan, who is learning on the job and studying for his Level 4 Water Reticulation qualification.

The next step was to enact a safety plan, to arrange an emergency shutdown of the water, and to call in traffic management to protect the team and members of the public, Mario says.

The repair was a four-metre short side relay, which in ordinary language is a repair to the water service line to a property that is on the same side of the road as the water main. It involved a complete renewal of the service line.

Ageing infrastructure and prior failures often create these reactive maintenance jobs for our crews around the country. In Timaru our team undertake many different water-related maintenance work for the residents of Timaru.

Events like this present an opportunity for on-the-job training and development for our local teams, where our experienced registered supervisors are able impart their knowledge and experience.

Mario and Nathan: