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STAFF REPORT

ACTION REQUIRED

Emergency Replacement of Substandard Water Services

– Policy Review

Date: May 27, 2015

To: Public Works and Infrastructure Committee

From: Lou Di Gironimo, General Manager, Toronto Water

Wards: All

Reference

Number: P:\2015|Cluster B\TW\PWI15010

SUMMARY

In June 2014, City Council requested the General Manager – Toronto Water to review the policy for emergency replacement of water service pipes with low flow and report back on the operational and financial impact of including replacement of water services tested at 15 litres per minute or less.

The City's Water Service Replacement Program, as approved by Council in 2011, currently provides for emergency water service replacement of the City-owned portion, on an address specific basis, where the water service is broken; or if the water service cannot deliver the minimum flow of seven litres per minute measured at the first entry point of the service line to the house for single-family, duplex or triplex residential properties.

This staff report outlines the operational, financial and other considerations in increasing the emergency replacement low flow criterion from 7 to 15 litres per minute. Based on the potential impacts of the policy change, Toronto Water recommends that the criterion be maintained at 7 litres per minute as per the existing Water Service Replacement Program.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The General Manager, Toronto Water, recommends that:

1. The Public Works and Infrastructure Committee receive this report for information.

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Financial Impact

There is no financial impact from the receipt of this report.

DECISION HISTORY

On June 10, 2014 City Council adopted without amendments MM52.30 – Review of Policy Replacement of Sub-standard Water Services – by Councillor Maria Augimeri, seconded by Councillor John Parker. A copy of the Council Decision Document can be found at:

http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2014/mm/bgrd/backgroundfile-70416.pdf

City Council, at its meeting on February 23-24, 2011, adopted the Lead in Drinking Water Mitigation Strategy, which defined the current Water Service Replacement Program. The Strategy can be viewed at

http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2011/bu/bgrd/backgroundfile-34876.pdf

In July 2007, the Harmonized Water Service Repair Program was replaced with the Lead Water Service Connection Replacement Program. A copy of this report can be found at:

http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2007/pw/bgrd/backgroundfile-5459.pdf

In June 1999, City Council adopted a Harmonized Water Service Repair Program. A copy of this report can be found at:

http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/1999/agendas/council/cc/cc990609/wu9rpt/cl001.htm

ISSUE BACKGROUND

Substandard Water Service Replacements

In 1999, City Council adopted a Harmonized Residential Water Service Repair Program, which provided for the on-demand replacement, at no cost to the homeowner, of

substandard water service lines within the road allowance. Sub-standard water service connections were defined as non-copper material (lead or galvanized iron) and

connections with a diameter less than ¾ inches with a flow rate of less than 18 litres per minute at the water meter.

In 2007, City Council adopted the Lead Water Service Replacement Program, which replaced the Harmonized Residential Water Service Repair Program and was intended to accelerate the replacement of the estimated 65,000 remaining lead water service

connections within the City; and provide for the emergency replacement of water service connections with flow rates of less than 7 litres per minute, connections with leaks, and in situations where water quality tests have exceeded the allowable lead concentration limit.

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elimination of lead water service connections in the City and reduce the health risks to the public from exposure to lead in drinking water.

As part of the stronger focus on lead mitigation, the On-Demand water service

replacement was redefined – an annual maximum of 1,500 services replaced, on a first come first served basis, in the following priority, where a minimum of 500 services are assigned for the replacement of low flow copper service connections: 1) residential properties serviced by lead or galvanized water services; and 2) ½ inch copper service connections where the flow rate, is between 7 and 15 litres per minute, as measured at the meter or closest faucet to the entry point of service.

The current Water Service Replacement Program was further defined as part of the Lead in Drinking Water Mitigation Strategy, approved by City Council in February 2011, as part of a multi-faceted approach to further reduce exposure of lead in drinking water. The Strategy recommended the continued replacement of the City-owned portion of substandard water service connections to individual properties in conjunction with the City’s planned infrastructure renewal projects, but limited the number of priority on-demand replacements of individual connections completed within any given year and only if the request for replacement meets prescribed criteria.

Currently, the Water Service Replacement Program:

1. Targets the replacement of 5,000 substandard water service connections per year, through planned infrastructure renewal programs, emergency responses and priority replacements;

2. Provides emergency replacement of the City-owned section of the water service in cases where: a) The water service is broken; or b) If the water service cannot deliver the minimum flow of seven litres per minute measured at the first entry point to the house for single-family, duplex or triplex residential properties; and where c) The seven litre per minute criterion does not apply to non-residential properties (including mixed use of residential and non-residential properties) where the owners of these properties must apply and pay for an upgraded new service if the existing service does not meet its minimum flow requirements; 3. Priority on-demand replacements of the City-owned section of lead water service

connections, is targeted at 1,500 replacements per year, and is only undertaken in cases where: a) The City owned section is lead; and b) The property owner replaces the privately-owned section of the lead service connection prior to, or at the same time, the City owned section is replaced.

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COMMENTS

Water Efficiency and Decreasing Water Flow Requirements for Households

The water flow requirements of water fixtures is a major component of the water flow needs for residential households. Over the past 25 years, there has been a market shift to more water efficient household fixtures and today the average household requires

significantly less flows for water fixtures than it did in the 1990s.

In 1996, the Ontario Building Code (OBC) began requiring the installation of more water efficient fixtures for new construction buildings. The following is a list of standard household fixtures and the typical water flow requirements:

• Showerheads (standard) – 9.5 L/min • Toilets (standard) – 6 L per flush • Faucets (standard) – 8.35 L/min

Today, water efficiency has resulted in even lower water service flows required to supply residential fixtures. The following is a list of typical flow requirements for water

efficient fixtures as approved by the USEPA WaterSense program: • Showerheads (efficient) – 7.5 L/min or less

• Toilets (efficient) – 4.8 L or less per flush • Faucets (efficient) – 5.7 L/min maximum

In the City of Toronto, City Council approved the City's Water Efficiency Plan in 2003 to reduce water consumption across the City and create "in-system capacity" and thereby defer capital investments in water infrastructure that would be required to service future growth. The Water Efficiency Plan has been highly successful at increasing the

availability and variety of water efficient fixtures to Toronto households and has resulted in significant reductions in residential water use across the City.

The 2011 Water Efficiency Plan Update identified that residential per capita average day consumption dropped 14.5% between 2001 and 2010 to 225 litres per capita (LCD) per day. It was further identified that based on the "natural" rate of fixture and toilet replacement and the continued market trends towards the manufacturing and sale of increased water efficient fixtures and appliances, Toronto’s average per capita consumption could drop to 150 LCD by 2025. With the continuing decreases in

residential demand the flows required through water service lines has been significantly reduced.

Emergency Low Flow and Moderate Low Flow Condition

Emergency Low Flow Condition – Less than 7 litres per minute

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While water usage demand for the typical household has dropped and more water efficient fixtures are sold on the market today than 25 years ago, water service flows at less than 7 litres per minute for a household are inadequate to supply the requirements of most typical household fixtures. For example, based on the typical flow requirements for fixtures presented in the previously section, at 7 litres per minute, the typical

household would be able to flush a toilet or partially run of faucet but would not be able to meet their flow requirements for most fixtures, and not be able to run more than one fixture.

Moderate Low Flow Condition – 7 litres per minute to 15 litres per minute

Flows between 7 and 15 litres per minute can be classified as moderate low flows, based on the standard flows of household fixtures available to residents today. Between 7 and 15 litres/minute, the typical household would be able to flush a toilet, run a faucet or take a shower. This not considered an emergency low flow condition that is equivalent to having no water service.

Residential Low Flow Water Complaints and Emergency Replacements

Currently, there are over 475,000 water services in the City of Toronto. On average, the City receives approximately 1,900 complaints of low flow or low pressure annually. Low water service flows for low rise residential properties are generally attributed to the following:

• Undersized water services (less than 19 mm in diameter for low rise residential properties);

• Mineral deposits or other blockages in the water service line; and/or, • Low operating pressures in the water distribution system.

When a low water service flow complaint is received by the City, Toronto Water tests the flow rate in the water service at the first entry point to the house for single family, duplex and triplex residential properties. Approximately 18 percent of low flow complaints (or approximately 340 per year) to the City test at less than 7 litres per minute.

In these cases, Toronto Water flushes the water service pipe to remove potential deposits and/or blockages, which sometimes improves the flow significantly. Toronto Water retests the flow and if the flow remains at less than 7 litres per minute, the water service (City-side only) is eligible for emergency replacement under the Water Service

Replacement Program. It is important to note, that similar to the concerns with lead in drinking water, low water service flows cannot fully be addressed unless both the City-side and the private-City-side of the water service is replaced (by the property owner). Under the Water Service Replacement Program, emergency replacement of the City portion of the water service is also provided when the water service is broken.

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Residential Low Flow Water Complaints and Non-Emergency Replacements

Approximately, 16 per cent of the low flow investigations (or approximately 300 per year) result in flows between 7 and 15 litres per minute, in which case the water service is not eligible for an emergency replacement under the Water Service Replacement

Program.

Through the Water Service Replacement Program, the following options for water service replacements (City-side only) are available to residents with low flow complaints that exceed the 7 litres per minute threshold:

1) Priority On-Demand Replacement - Priority on-demand replacement of residential water services is available based on the following criteria:

1. Priority replacements of the City-owned section of lead water service connections are undertaken in cases where:

a. The City owned section is lead; and

b. The property owner replaces the privately-owned section of the lead service connection prior to, or at the same time, the City owned section is replaced;

The City-owned sections of substandard water service connections are replaced with: 1. 19 mm copper service, in accordance with the City's current standard, when the

existing City section of the service connection is 19 mm in diameter or smaller, at no cost to the property owner; or

2. the same size connection in cases where the existing City section of the service connection is greater than 19 mm, at no cost to the property owner;

3. A larger diameter copper service, as may be requested by the property owner, paid for by the property owner, subject to charges of:

a. a $500 flat fee for 25 mm services; or

b. the actual replacement cost plus 15% administration fee for services greater than 25 mm

2) Programmed Water Service Replacements – alternatively, residents can wait for their water service to be replaced in coordination with City planned infrastructure renewal projects.

City planned infrastructure renewal works are targeted based on infrastructure state of good repair as follows: watermain replacement, watermain structural lining, sewer replacement, basement flooding works and road reconstruction. Watermain replacement and watermain structural lining project locations are identified based on the structural condition of the watermain infrastructure, determined through watermain break records, or bundled with other City infrastructure works on an opportunistic basis.

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As part of the Toronto Water projected 10 year Capital Program, Toronto Water will continue to replace substandard services in conjunction with planned infrastructure renewal and has identified a nominal increase in funding for the Water Service Replacement Program from 2015 to 2024 accordingly. The projected increase in the Water Service Replacement Program budget is $8.6 million in 2015 to $14.9 million in 2024. Capital projects are identified based on maintaining a state of good repair and are programmed 5 years in advance. Programmed projects are subject to change based on infrastructure condition and available funding.

Impacts of Increasing the Emergency Replacement Threshold

The implications of increasing the emergency replacement threshold from 7 litres per minute to 15 litres per minute are outlined in this section.

Customer Service Response Time – As noted previously, an emergency low flow

condition at less than 7 litres per minute is like having no water service based on the flow rates required for household water fixtures. The intention of emergency water service replacement is to address these emergency situations immediately, typically within 7 days after a water service is confirmed with less than 7 litres per minute flow.

Moderate low flow conditions (7 to 15 litres per minute) should not be considered as an emergency low flow condition as most household water fixtures can be utilized at these flow rates. Therefore, the moderate low flow condition does not require the immediate attention as the current emergency low flow condition (less than 7 litres per minute). Increasing the emergency replacement threshold to 15 litres per minute could allow for the replacement of the water service (on the City-side) for those residents with flows between 7 to 15 litres per minute, sooner than if the replacement was coordinated with future capital works on that street, which may take years.

However, the inclusion of moderately low flow complaints to the emergency replacement criteria would also decrease the City's ability to address critical emergency low flow situations (where water fixtures cannot be used) in a timely manner.

Number of Emergency Replacements - As noted previously, currently Toronto Water receives on average, 1,900 low flow calls per year. Approximately 16% (approx. 300 per year) of these low flow investigations identify flows between 7 and 15 litres per minute indicating possible substandard water service lines that would be replaced in coordination with future capital projects. Based on the current percentage, increasing the low flow rate criteria to 15 litres per minute would almost double the number of emergency

replacements that Toronto Water would have to undertake annually from the current average of 340 per year to approximately 640 per year.

Costs and Cost-Effectiveness - it is most cost effective and resource efficient to coordinate replacement of substandard water services with planned capital works to obtain competitive pricing for bundled projects. The typical cost range for the

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coordinated replacement of water services is $3,500 to $4,000 per water service where multiple water services are replaced at a project location.

Costs for standalone replacement of water services, which are specific to one location or property, is typically in the range of $5,000 to $6,000 per water service, nearly doubling the cost of replacement. It should be noted that previous standalone water service replacement initiatives were retired due to the significant construction and restoration costs and multiple competing priorities regarding infrastructure renewal, capacity growth, and system enhancement needs.

Based on the predicted doubling of the number of emergency replacements per year, the increase in capital costs would be approximately $1.8 million annually to the City. Staff Resources and Impacts on Other Programs - Toronto Water's ability to deliver additional water service replacements is limited by the number of priority programs currently being administered by Toronto Water. An increase in the number of emergency water service replacements would require a minimum of an additional two full time staff, due to the significant increase in coordination requirements for standalone works.

Alternatively, a reduction in the service delivery for programs such as the priority on-demand lead water service replacements would be required.

Conclusion

In reviewing the impacts of increasing the emergency replacement criterion from 7 litres per minute to 15 litres per minute, Toronto Water has identified that the existing Water Service Replacement Program is best option to deliver water service replacements in a timely and cost effective manner. Therefore, Toronto Water recommends maintaining the existing 7 litre per minute emergency threshold and continuing to replace substandard water services (between 7 and 15 litres per minute) through programmed water service replacements with capital projects.

CONTACT

Graham Harding Paul Clements

Director, Water Infrastructure Management Acting Director, District Operations

Toronto Water Toronto Water

Tel: 416-397-4631 Tel: 416-395-6248

Email: ghardin2@toronto.ca Email: pclement@toronto.ca

Candice Au Frank Trinchini

Manager, Watermain Asset Planning Manager, District Contract Services

Toronto Water Toronto Water

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SIGNATURE

_______________________________ Lou Di Gironimo

General Manager Toronto Water

References

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