Saskatoon

City of Saskatoon suing American fire hydrant maker for Aspen Ridge water woes

The City of Saskatoon is suing an American fire hydrant manufacturer, claiming its units led to contamination of water in the Aspen Ridge neighbourhood earlier this year.

City wants at least $1M after testing revealed hydrocarbons in hydrants, led to boil water advisories

A Mueller hydrant at Aspen Ridge. (Dan Zakreski/CBC)

The City of Saskatoon is suing an American fire hydrant manufacturer, claiming its units led to contamination of water in the Aspen Ridge neighbourhood earlier this year.

The city's statement of claim, filed Nov. 23 at Court of Queen's Bench, is requesting at least $1 million from Mueller Water Products in Atlanta.

"[It] knew, or ought to have known, about the potential for the contamination substance to form in Mueller hydrants, and failed to warn the City of this dangerous condition," said the statement of claim.

"As a result, the hydrants were not fit for the purpose intended by the City but rather created a dangerous condition by contaminating the city's public potable water system."

Wolseley Canada Inc., the distributor, is also named in the suit.

The city's allegations have not been tested in court. Mueller Water Products did not immediately reply when asked for comment.

The water problems first emerged in December 2016, when a black substance was observed on the ball valve in the water sampling port on two Mueller Modern Centurion fire hydrants during water sampling, according to the statement of claim.

Testing revealed hydrocarbons — organic compounds, which naturally occur in crude oil — in the fire hydrants.

This initial finding led to boil water advisories that affected residents in Aspen Ridge for months.

"The contamination substance had not only contaminated the hydrants, but the lead line from the main, and in some circumstances there was contamination found in the main water lines, " the city said in its claim.

The claim said the costs associated with the issue include inspecting the water system, cleaning up the contamination, setting up temporary water lines, providing water, hiring experts to find the source of the contamination, identifying the substance and fixing the water system. 

About the Author

Dan Zakreski is a reporter for CBC Saskatoon.

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