Summer without hot water

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Every summer, hot water pipes are repaired or replaced in Ulaanbaatar to prepare for winter. In other words, hot water is cut off in sections in Ulaanbaatar for 3 to 14 days at a time. This work lasts for almost three months in summer.

Heating is distributed to apartments on September 15 every year. From October 1, business offices are provided with heating. Therefore, repair and renovation work must be completed and ready before the start of the heating season, or August 16.

There are a lot of complaints from citizens about hot water cut offs. In particular, through complaints, in the winter of 2020-2021, 35,926 pipes and equipment were inspected in duplicate, and 1,082 violations were detected and resolved.

During the Capital City Mayor’s Council meeting in May, General Manager of Ulaanbaatar and Head of the Mayor’s Office T.Gantumur said, “From 2020 to 2021, 39,510 suggestions and complaints were received by the Ulaanbaatar Emergency Management and Coordination Center. Of these, 700 were related to heating, 193 were related to hot water, 152 were related to water supply, 123 were related to sewerage, and 1,247 were related to electricity supply. This is an increase of 19 percent compared to the same period last year.”

For instance, in some areas, maintenance is completed in just three days, while in some areas, the maintenance is not completed on time and in some cases there is no hot water for more than a month. In connection with this issue, Head of Engineering Facilities Department, Ulaanbaatar Mayor’s Office T.Kherlen noted, “Residents in some towns and districts were frustrated by the fact that hot water was cut off and the pipe was repaired for almost a month.”

“This work does not depend on us alone. There are works commissioned by the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development. In 2020, hot water consumption in five apartment buildings were limited from three to four months.”

“Particularly, the hot water supply to buildings No. 51, 52, 31, 42A, 42B, and 72 in Khan-Uul District was restricted. The delay was due to high groundwater levels in the area. The irresponsibility of the contractor also contributed to this. In some cases,
contractors say they increased their workforce, but the work has not progressed because they have not improved their machinery and equipment,” he added.

In addition to not completing maintenance on time, there are problems such as damaged heating pipes in winter. Therefore, the maintenance of heating pipes causes a lot of problems for residents of the capital.

Some criticize that it is possible to make longlasting, non-destructive repairs, even if they take a longer time. However, experts say there is a reason why repairs are done every year. In winter, temperatures regularly dips to as low as -40 degrees Celsius while hot water at 120 degrees Celsius flows through the pipes, which is why they sustain heavy damage and require extensive repairs and replacement.

Therefore, Ulaanbaatar residents have no choice but to contend with hot water cuts for a couple of weeks every a year.

As mentioned above, the main problem is the importance of quality repairs and complete renovation work that are winter-proof. This is because it is extremely difficult and risky to spend even a single day in the cold of winter without hot water and heating.

Most recently, there had been a total of four failures on the 8A main line, which is responsible for heating the western part of Ulaanbaatar, from November 26, 2020 to December 12. As a result, a total of 65 households spent more than 50 hours without
heating and hot water.

The 8A line has not been replaced since 1997, but has been regularly repaired. Officials said they could not make the replacement in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Repeated repairs and damages over the years showed that the line needs to be completely replaced.

At that time, one of the residents of Bayangol District said, “It seems impossible to replace less than a kilometer of heating pipes due to lack of funding. Second, there is a lack of prompt and coherent decision-making. We pay for heat every month.
However, we are not able to exercise our right to live in a healthy and safe environment.”

Therefore, it is important to make quality repairs and complete renovations thoroughly this summer, and this point is made by residents, who ultimately pay for the maintenance, every year. This year, it is planned to divide the main heating network into nine sections and restrict traffic to repair and upgrade pipes in 21 locations.

According to General Manager of Ulaanbaatar T.Gantumur, the relevant organizations are implementing a plan for the renovation of heating supply lines and equipment in Ulaanbaatar in the summer of 2021. Moreover, in line with the schedule of the heating line shutdown, the engineering supply organizations carried out major and routine repairs as of May 24. In other words, the repair process is “going well”, according to the authorities.

These repairs and renovations cost more than 10 billion MNT a year. Green facilities and roads are destroyed during the repair of the pipes. Maintenance funding does not include restoration of damaged green areas and roads. As a result, it is sometimes
left unresolved. The annual pipeline repair work also has debilitating impact on the city’s already dire traffic congestion issues as vital roads accesses are cut off, meaning drivers have choose other available roads. This year in particular, residents complained that annual road and pipeline maintenance should have been done when the capital was in full lockdown so as to cause minimal obstruction and make some use of the lockdown time.

The general meeting of the subordinate organizations of the Ulaanbaatar Mayor’s Office decides whether to dig green areas, public areas, and roads for the purpose of line works. The contractor is responsible for its rehabilitation. Specialists from the Ulaanbaatar Road Development Agency are charged with monitoring this activity.

“However, during the cold season, from November 15 to May 15, if pipes need to be repaired due to accidents and delays and the road is damaged, a permission is obtained from the Mayor’s Office of Ulaanbaatar. If the road is broken, it will not be possible to cover it with asphalt in the cold season, so it will have to be buried,” the head of Engineering Facilities Department, Ulaanbaatar Mayor’s Office said.

It is commendable that the pipes are being improved and repaired, but unfortunately, this is ruining the appearance of the city.

In fact, environmental protection related to this work are regulated by Order No. 19 of the minister of construction and urban development of January 30, 2018. Particularly, Article 12.1 of the order states that when constructing, expanding, renovating or repairing heating lines and its facilities, environmental protection measures shall be taken in accordance with the relevant norms, and if the city’s green space, trees, and lawns are demolished during construction, the associated costs should be included in the rehabilitation project.

Moreover, in accordance with Article 12.4 of the order, roads and areas affected during construction will be rehabilitated, trees, shrubs and grass will be transplanted, and the surrounding area will be thoroughly cleaned.

However, the related projects are not well implemented. The renovation work is not done well, so it is probably difficult for them to do the restoration work.

The following table is the schedule of hot water cut offs in connection with the renovation and replacement of heating lines by Ulaanbaatar Heating Network SOEC in 2021.

1

Gobi-2 JSC, Hotels Club, Delgerekh Town, National Sports Stadium, Khunnu 2222 Residence, Rapid Town, 120 Myangat, residential area near Tuul River, Gobi JSC, Nature Agro LLC, Ulaanbaatar Railway, Railway Hospital and Zaisan.

From May 16 to May 28 (for 3-12 days)

2

Devshil Trade LLC, Monos Group, Military Town, Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Plant, Oil Base, Zaluus Town, Altan Taria LLC, Makh Impex JSC, 21st district, Orchlon residential area, Sodon residential area, households around Khanyn Material, Buyan LLC, Buyant Ukhaa Apartment and households around Buyant Ukhaa Airport.

From May 19 to May 31 (3-12 days)

3

Yarmag (Viva City Town, Puma apartment district), New Yarmag, Munkh Khada auto shopping center, Khunnu Mall, around the new capital city government building, Nukht Valley, Children’s Hospital of Khan-Uul District, and Artsat Valley.

From June 2 to June 7 (for five days)

4

Bars-2 and Khar Khorin markets, Erin, Golden Park, Sod Onis and Nomin apartments, Material Impex, Tundemun Sauna, Gurvan Bileg Department Store, old transportation bureau and 5th apartment district. 

From June 10 to June 24 (for 3-14 days)

5

Around New Mongol Office, Bumbugur shopping center, Geser Temple, Bayanburd Center, schools No. 3 and 4, 7th, 11th and 12th apartment districts, Khangai Town, around 100 Ail building materials trade center, Tengis Cinema, Diplomat 95 Apartment, government buildings X, XI and XII, the Supreme Court and Khiimori Town.

From June 21 to July 5 (for 3-14 days)

6

Goyo LLC, Ministry of Energy, Khos-Urguu Town, Telmuunlkham Town, around 19th apartment district, Police Auto Base, Altai Khotkhon, Tuushin LLC, Shiner Barilga LLC, Orgil Spa Resort, Khan-Uul District General Hospital, Ulaanbaatar Sanatorium Medical Center, apartments of Jiguur Grand Group, Ulaanbaatar Traffic Police Department, Star Estates, Continental Hotel and Shine Uy School.

From June 30 to July 6 (for 3-10 days)

7

Jargalan Town, Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Encanto Town, Marshall Town, River Garden Town, Bayan Mongol Apartment, around New Mongol School, Narantuul Market, Sunjin Grand Hotel, Bayanzurkh District, 16th apartment district, around Amgalan Market and around Mongolian Academy of Sciences.

July 19 to July 30 (for 3-11 days)

8

Around ASA circus, 220 Myangat, around Khuukhdiin 100, Embassy of Japan, around Central Swimming Pool, State Department Store, Embassy of Russia, Embassy of China, Ulaanbaatar Central Post Office, State Palace, National Academic Drama Theater, Flower Center, National University of Mongolia, School No. 5, First Central Hospital, and Wrestling Palace.

From July 26 to August 8 (for 3-14 days)

9

Gandantegchinlen Monastery, Mongolian National Broadcaster, Bogd Ar Apartment, schools No. 73 and 87, and National Maternal and Child Health Center.

From August 4 to August 16 (for 3-12 days)



    Misheel Lkhasuren

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