Streamline - Fall 2013 - (Page 23)

BY TRACY PUCKETT, WATER OPERATIONS SPECIALIST A break as well as leakage in a water line of any size becomes an extended invitation to contaminants that can enter the line leaving many people affected. Aging and Failing Infrastructure infrastructure such as pipes, treatment plants and other components that provide our drinking water is aging. Time and deterioration has certainly left its mark. There is an estimated 658 water main breaks that happen every day across the nation. That is a total of 240,000 main line breaks per year, and yet, these numbers do not reflect the service line leakage and breaks that utilities deal with on a daily bases. There is a startling 1.7 trillion gallons of water lost every year from our water infrastructure. THE NATION’S WATER It has become very easy to overlook the issues that we are facing with our aging infrastructure. We have all heard it said: “Out of Sight, Out of Mind.” While that mentality seems to keep us at ease, it does not change the fact that while we are busy with our everyday routines, that just beneath the surface we are being faced with something that is as dangerous as what is above the surface. We are affected in so many ways by failing infrastructure, ways that many fail to recognize. First and foremost is public health. A break as well as leakage in a water line of any size becomes an extended invitation to contaminants that can enter the line leaving many people affected. It can cause illness in many consumers, and though very rare, possible death to people with weak or compromised immune systems. Along with public health also comes public safety. Over a period of time, leaking infrastructure will erode soils around the pipe. This causes the area around the pipe to become unstable. Once the area is affected by leakage it can create sinkholes, mud slides, and broken pavement and concrete as well as damage foundations that can cause leaning or falling structures that are erected above the surface. There are many more dangers at hand, yet many people across the nation never give these issues a thought because they are not jumping out at them. We can all agree that the cost of replacing water infrastructure is enormous, but can we as water systems really afford to let these problems go unattended? I believe that utilities must put forth the effort to address the matter and confront the problems at hand, before further problems confront the utilities. We cannot ignore the problems we have faced and continue facing with our infrastructure. I encourage every utility to get greater involved in knowing what is going on in their systems. Put together a plan of action to work toward resolving these issues. As you work your plan and problems are discovered, prioritize repairs to prevent additional damages. While some areas of pipe are beyond repairing, look for ways to rehab the aging system. There are ways that utilities can do this even in today’s economy. There are funding agencies that will still offer assistance to water utilities agencies. While these offers may not be as enticing as they once were, we must still be willing to use the resources that are made available for us today. Though many problems go unseen, our infrastructure continues to suffer and will continue to only worsen with each passing day. These problems will never go away without the attention of the utility. 23

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Fall 2013

From the President
From the Executive Director
Acronyms – Today’s Language
Drought or Flood?
Can Changing Your Plant Lighting Save You Money?
Source Water Protection Notes
Aging and Failing Infrastructure
Time for Some R&R
EXPO Coverage and Recap
Ergs, Joules and Other Stuff
Wastewater Math
Throwing My Loop
eLearning Benefi ts
Membership Application
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefi ts Are
Welcome New Members
VRWA Mailbag
Board of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index to Advertisers/

Streamline - Fall 2013