Efforts Shift to Alternative Solution for Grindavík Water Leak

The search for a leak in the Grindavík hot water pipeline, buried under lava from a January eruption, has been abandoned. An auxiliary pipeline is being planned, with efforts underway to complete the project as swiftly and efficiently as possible.

Search for leak abandoned

As reported last week, the pressure in the hot water pipeline leading to Grindavík has been low due to significant leaks both in the main conduit to Grindavík and in the town’s distribution system. The pipeline was buried underneath lava originating from an eruption that occurred on January 14. After the leak was discovered, a search for the source of the malfunction began, and efforts were made to repair the pipeline as soon as possible.

The search for the leak has now been abandoned due to difficult conditions, Sigrún Inga Ævarsdóttir, Communications and Marketing Manager with the utility company HS Veitur, told Mbl.is this morning: “We were unable to locate the leak under the lava. The conditions were such that it was impossible to dig down to the pipeline to locate the leak,” Sigrún stated.

Auxiliary pipeline to be installed

Sigrún added that preparations were underway to install an auxiliary pipeline over the lava in consultation with civil defence authorities: “This is essentially the same strategy that was adopted after lava from the eruption on February 8 damaged the so-called Njarðvíkur conduit,” she observed.

When asked, Sigrún could not specify when the pipeline would be ready but mentioned it would take several days. A detailed timeline will be announced in the coming days: “Work is being carried out day and night, with great effort to complete this quickly and efficiently,” Sigrún remarked.

As reported this morning, the Chairman of the Grindavík Workers’ Union has criticised the reopening of Grindavík, citing, among other things, inadequate infrastructure, such as the unsteady flow of hot and cold water into town.

Safety Concerns, Poor Weather Halt Grindavík Property Visits

Grindavík residents are currently unable to visit their properties due to ongoing efforts to fill and assess dangerous crevasses, with work being hampered by recent bad weather. The Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management is focusing on evaluating the town’s safety this weekend, with hopes to soon allow brief returns for residents.

Efforts being made to fill crevasses

Grindavík residents will not be able to visit their properties today, Víðir Reynisson, head of the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, stated yesterday. Efforts are being made to fill the cracks and assess their danger with the help of ground-penetrating radars, but the work has been delayed due to bad weather in recent days. 

Víðir observed that the civil protection authorities intended to spend the weekend assessing the situation in town, which has been divided into areas east and west of Víkurbraut; the eastern area is much more dangerous. 

“The danger of earth collapse and the opening of new crevasses is still considered high. What we have been focused on in recent days is filling these cracks and scanning them with ground-penetrating radars. We have also been trying to assess which areas are safer than others so as to prepare to allow the people of Grindavík to come home and visit their properties,” Víðir stated in an interview in the evening news on Stöð 2 yesterday.

Inauspicious weather conditions

Víðir added that the weather had not been on the authorities’ side in recent days and the forecasts for the weekend don’t look especially heartening. Hopefully, however, work over the weekend could continue: “There is significant wind and precipitation forecasted, so we have to take into account whether this is actually feasible, but we will see it more clearly tomorrow,” Víðir noted yesterday.

Víðir stated that he understood that people were eager to return to their homes and that the lack of electricity and heating in the town was a further cause for concern for residents; many were hoping to move their belongings to new homes outside the town: “Hopefully, we can get everyone living west of Víkurbraut back home in a short time, and that means each person might get about four hours at home,” Víðir remarked.

A meeting will be held this morning to review the situation and assess what needs to be done to allow residents to enter the town. The authorities hope to allow residents to return home for a brief period, two to four at a time, in one or two cars.

Árborg Announces Overhaul of Aging Stokkseyri Pool

The public pool in Stokkseyri is in need of repairs

The swimming pool in Stokkseyri, a small town in South Iceland, is in poor condition, requiring extensive repairs to the pool’s basin. According to the Árborg municipality’s website, it is necessary to replace all sides of the pool, as well as the bottom and liner,

Clear that extensive repairs are needed

This summer, as part of the municipality’s austerity measures, Árborg decided to keep the Stokkseyri swimming pool closed this winter, from November until March of next year. In a news update on its website yesterday, Árborg revealed that the pool basin, after 31 years of use, was in a state of disrepair. The municipality also published images depicting the pool’s condition.

Read More: Pooling Together (Iceland’s Unique Swimming Pool Culture)

“It’s clear that more extensive repairs are needed for the Stokkseyri swimming pool’s basin, as all sides of the pool along with the bottom and liner need replacement. Additionally, the hot tubs will be painted, and maintenance of other aspects of the pool’s grounds and building will be considered. Work has begun, but due to the extent of the damage, it’s uncertain when the repairs will be completed,” the municipality’s website notes.

The Stokkseyri swimming pool complex includes an eighteen-metre outdoor pool, a wading pool, and two hot tubs.

The public pool in Stokkseyri

Much of Downtown Reykjavík Without Hot Water During Scheduled Maintenance

veitur maintenance water

According to a bulletin posted on Veitur’s website, Iceland’s national utility company, much of central Reykjavík was without hot water last night and will continue to be so through the morning.

Repair work began at 9:00PM last night, and is expected to continue until at least 9:00AM today.

Areas affected include downtown Reykjavík west of Kringlumyrarbraut to Grandi and parts of Vesturbær.

A map of the affected area can be accessed here at Veitur’s website.

Residents are advised to turn off hot water taps during the scheduled maintenance in order to prevent damage when the hot water returns. Those affected are also advised to take steps to conserve heat during the temporary outage, such as keeping windows and doors shut.