Ottawa

Gatineau water main break floods homes, shuts schools

Two homes have been evacuated, nearly a dozen flooded and 24,500 residences are under a boil-water advisory following a major water main break on boulevard Alexandre-Taché in Gatineau Monday evening.

Thousands of residents under boil-water advisory until further notice

The water main break on Alexandre-Taché likely won't be repaired until Tuesday evening, the City of Gatineau said. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

Two homes have been evacuated, nearly a dozen flooded and 24,500 residences are under a boil-water advisory following  a major water main break on boulevard Alexandre-Taché in Gatineau Monday evening.

Several schools have also been closed due to the rupture. In an update Tuesday afternoon, the Commission scolaire des portages-de-l'Outaouais said all its schools and other facilities will reopen Wednesday, and bottled water will be available at all CSPO institutions affected by the water advisory. 

The boil-water advisory affects 24,500 residences in these parts of Gatineau. (City of Gatineau)

Emergency crews were called to the busy downtown street around 6:15 p.m., just as the evening rush hour was winding down.

The rupture on the 90-centimetre pipe sent water spewing onto the street and caused widespread water pressure issues.

During an update Tuesday morning, Gatineau mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin said two homes were evacuated and 11 were flooded because of the water main break.

Pedneaud-Jobin said the city will test drinking water frequently until it's ruled safe to lift the boil-water order.

"We've isolated the problem so all citizens have access to water as we speak, but we don't know what caused the problem," said Pedneaud-Jobin.

"We'll know in the coming hours, and after that we'll be able to evaluate how long it's going to take to do the repairs."

He said the water main should be fixed by Friday at the latest.

Government offices open, schools closed

While the cause of this rupture isn't known, Pedneaud-Jobin noted Gatineau's aging infrastructure.

Tanguy Etoga has tenants in the area of Monday night's water main break in Gatineau. 0:36

The city offered the boil-water advisory Tuesday morning, asking residents in the affected area to boil water for at least a minute before consuming it.

The advisory and pipe rupture caused grief for nearby restaurant owner Tri Tran, who had to close his business Monday night after water gushed into the street. 

"It's very hard to get into my restaurant for sure," said Tran, who had to cancel a reservation due to the situation.

Restaurant owner Tri Tran said his business had to close Monday day when the watermain break started. (Radio-Canada)

"Especially in the Christmas season, there's a lot of lunch reservations," he said. "It's going to hurt my business for sure."

Environment and Climate Change Canada had closed its offices in the Fontaine Building and Place Vincent Massey because of the water issues, but reopened them at about 9:40 a.m.

Public Services and Procurement Canada said other federal government offices are open for business. 

The Université du Québec en Outaouais is open, with drinking water provided by the school.

Access to campus is restricted to the corner of Alexandre-Taché and boulevard St. Joseph, as Alexandre-Taché is closed from rues Hormidas-Dupuis et Boucherville.

People are asked to avoid the area if they can.

This section of boulevard Alexandre-Taché is closed because of the water main break. (City of Gatineau)

The schools and other facilities closed Tuesday are:

  • École Côte-du-Nord.
  • École du Parc-de-la-Montagne.
  • École internationale du Mont-Bleu.
  • École Jean-de-Brébeuf.
  • École Saint-Jean-Bosco.
  • École Saint-Paul.
  • École du Dôme.
  • École du Lac-des-Fées.
  • École Notre-Dame.
  • École Saint-Rédempteur.
  • École secondaire de l'Île.
  • École des métiers spécialisés Asticou.
  • Centre Mgr Lucien-Beaudouin.
  • Centre La Génération.
  • Centre Vision-Avenir.
  • Centre Saint-Raymond.
The City of Gatineau said work to repair the water main started in earnest overnight, after the source of the gushing water was located. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

with files from Krystalle Ramlakhan

now