Cofferdam bursts on Tay; repairs underway

The tay river.
Posted on: September 27, 2017

Sally Smith

Mayor John Fenik, at Perth council on Tuesday, Sept. 26, was thankful for at least two things when the cofferdam installed on the Tay River burst on Friday, Sept. 22.

“Nobody was killed or hurt,” and there was not a lot of property damage, he said, counting them off on his fingers.

Municipal staff installed the Aquabarrier cofferdam in the larger channel of the Tay River the day before to begin work on the Rocky Ramp revamp. With it in place, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) started to harvest fish, and staff continued work on the seal of the cofferdam on Friday, Sept. 22 as the RVCA carried on moving fish.

Without warning, the dam failed. Environmental staff responded immediately to control water levels and worked through the night to contain the flow in the Tay.

The Aquabarrier was purchased in 2015 for both components of the Rocky Ramp revamp, and, after inspection by a sales representative, was packaged and stored until this September when needed. It was installed without issue following the installation guide.

There was a warranty, and insurance coverage is in place. Perth treasurer Lang Britchford calls the policy a “crackerjack” one that needs to be moved on immediately.

There is some immediacy to repairs as there are fish nesting grounds in the Tay in that area.