| Aug 17, 2006

Feature Article - August 17, 2006

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Feature Article - August 17, 2006

Revill's revelation surprises water committee

by Wilma Kenny

Allan Revill, chief building inspector for South Frontenac, dropped a bombshell at the Water Steering Committee meeting last Friday, when he flatly stated that the building code supercedes any municipal by-laws. This was in reference to the township’s by-law, passed on the recommendation of their consulting engineer, Guy LaPorte, that ruled Sydenham residents would be permitted to use only copper pipe between the water main and their homes. Revill said that the building code permitted up to eight different products which could be used in addition to copper piping, and that if anyone challenged the township’s by-law, the building code would win; he was bound to accept any materials approved by the code, no matter what the by-law specified. He added that Kingston , Belleville and Loyalist township had all allowed their residents to use any pipe material listed in the building code.


Mayor Lake suggested that it might be appropriate now to allow a wider range of piping material, as the price of copper has doubled recently (from $2.25/foot to $4.50/foot.) Don Smith said that price had had no bearing on council’s original decision: "I wish LaPorte was here - I would have liked to have known his rationale [for recommending copper]."

Revill cautioned that the building code approved a rather wide range of quality, and emphasized that it was in the homeowners’ best interest to choose the highest quality plastic piping available. Smith said the price of the best plastic piping was very little more than other grades. Revill added that the most frequent problems occurred not with the piping itself, but with the connections. Since plastic is available in much longer sections, long runs with fewer weak points could be installed. He said council might also wish to require the installation of a ‘tracer wire’ along the pipe, as plastic was harder to locate underground than metal.

"Council refused to even consider any material but copper until some of the residents pushed the issue, and did the research," stated Marilyn Hopkins, a resident with a 600-foot run between house and street.

Engineer La Porte was not present at the meeting: when later asked why he had recommended copper only, he said he still felt it was the best choice of material. "Copper," he said, "is readily available, has a proven track record, and is easier to trace from the surface." He went on to say that the building code identifies a standard met by many manufacturers, and that the quality of plastic piping varies widely. "There have been problems with some plastic products."

The official opening and tour of the Sydenham Water Plant will be Saturday August 19th: the Mayor said that although both provincial and federal representatives had been invited, neither had said they would be attending. "You know, it’s not a popular event in the village" said committee member Bob Forbes, to which the mayor responded, "We don’t care: it’s an official event."

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