A mechanical failure with a pressure release valve at the Stibbs PRV station on Stanley Street in Nelson is to blame for multiple houses that experienced flooding at approximately 11 p.m. on Monday night.
“That’s a pressure-reducing valve station, and it’s intended to keep the pressure down, but in this case it didn’t and that was the problem here,” said City of Nelson public works director Colin Innes.
“From what we can see, the pressure climbed from 45 psi to 100 psi for a short duration. We had to go reset the valve and get it working again,” said Innes.
He said the pressure came back down quickly, but not before causing multiple water heaters to release their contents into multiple Nelson residents’ homes.
Innes said he was inundated by calls from angry customers with flooded water heaters, but from what he understands none of them were actually broken—instead, their pressure release valves worked as designed.
“We’ve been telling everyone to get a plumber to look at their water heaters. We’ve heard of about 20 so far that weren’t blown up, or destroyed, but obviously people are dealing with a lot of water.”
Innes said the surge affected Zone 2, which covers the upper part of Rosemont between the highway and Gore Street.
The Star received phone calls from upset residents in Uphill.
Innes said the city isn’t sure what caused the surge, and expressed bafflement at the outcome on Tuesday. He expressed interest in rumours connecting the event to an earth tremor experienced in Trail, but after investigating has ruled that out as the cause.
After recreating the circumstances in which the surge happened, the city has ascertained that the valve is now working correctly.
“We’ve been scratching our heads over here trying to figure it out.”