Tuesday 31 January 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National
Yesterday, work started on the raising of the hydrant and valves located at the Matavera Packing Shed which will enable the fire brigade services and To Tatou Vai (TTV) to access the water sources for emergencies in the future.
Senior engineer at Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI), Marie-Katrin Richter explains the road surface will be raised by 40 millimetres when it will be sealed with asphalt in the coming weeks.
And for the fire brigade to have access to the hydrant boxes, “we also need to raise these (hydrants)”.
“So basically, we are exposing the hydrant surrounds we bring them up by 40mm and then the hydrant boxes will be installed again and it will be level with the new surface.
“It’s also the valves, bringing up to the new surface level and the valves are required to shut off certain sections of the water main, they need to be accessible as well.”
Puaikura Fire Brigade volunteer Jason Moorfield said since 2020 the fire brigade services on the island have not had access to the fire hydrants along the main stretch of road near Takitumu Primary School in Matavera towards Chicken Magic in Tupapa “because they had been buried”.
Last November, within a week, three fires occurred in Upper Tupapa and having no access to any of the hydrants in close proximity to the fires was a grave concern to the fire brigade.
“We have had to wait for water tankers to come and they can only carry 9000 litres, then we have to wait till they fill up,” Moorfield said.
Normally, the fire brigades would fill from the hydrants near the fire into the water tanker and then into the fire truck, said Moorfield, adding with no access to hydrants, a longer period of time is taken to refill the tankers.
Tereapii (Apii) Timoti, the chief executive officer of Rarotonga water authority To Tatou Vai, said for some unknown reason, the previous sealing work covered the hydrants and valves which are critical for managing the routing of water.
Timoti said To Tatou Vai had been working with Infrastructure Cook Islands on the issue and the lifting of the hydrants and valves have been included in the contractors work scope.
Since November 2022, To Tatou Vai staff have been on the road around the island locating and marking the hydrants to make them visible.
To Tatou Vai’s engineering team member Wilson Rani says the ongoing work will see the first of the 10 hydrants raised. The work will continue up to the O’oa bridge in Tupapa where four more hydrants will be exposed.
“We have located all our assets including the fire hydrants, valves, isolation valves on the ring main etc. This is the next phase of the project … it’s a matter of locating the valves, having them raised and making sure it’s visible before the hot mix seal is poured,” said Rani.
“Once this stretch of road is completed, we will be sharing that with the fire services and ensuring it is clearly marked and visual.”
To Tatou Vai has also been installing ducting (large pipes) that will facilitate getting water from the mains to the other side of the road in the future, which will save cutting up the road.
Triad Petroleum Ltd has been contracted to undertake the hot mix asphalt seal from Matavera Packing Shed approximately 1.4 kilometre to Tupapa. The company is working in collaboration with Te Aponga Uira (TAU), TTV and Vodafone in the preparations before the seal.