Underneath the streets in communities throughout the world, run the pipes that bring liquids into households and businesses. For most places these pipes were put in place many years ago, sometimes over one hundred years ago when indoor plumbing was first developed. They sit underground out of sight and mind most of the time, at least until one of the pipes break and there is the need to shut the flow off. If a municipality has not been running a water main valve management program to perform water main valve exercise at spots over the years, there could be some surprises.
The biggest surprise of all is that the workers may have no idea where the valves are so they can shut them off. The flooding from broken pipes could erode streets enough where there is a catastrophic collapse as the dirt gets drained away from below. Hours could be lost digging trenches trying to find out where they are and the resulting damage could total into thousands of dollars.
Then another problem could be that they do find them and they find out that there maybe a water main leak and there needs a water main valve repair. Massive service disruptions can happen as people can no longer access the system for their needs. The workers will then have to go to another area and search for a way to bring the situation under control. If there ever was a reason to have an adequate maintenance program, this would be a very good reason.
Instituting a good testing water main leak detection program can stop these situations from becoming worse. You will want to have a employees go out to accomplish four goals. You will want them to locate where all the valves are, have them make sure they are in working order, prepare a detailed listing of their locations, and prepare a plan to have them repaired.
Finding where old valves can take a lot of time and effort, and there is the issue of the costs. Some places feel that it is better to wait and see if something goes wrong. They hope that it does not get really bad if a pipe fails and that they can control it fairly easily.
Other times, some people do not like to touch these things, because they are so old that they break when you do. All of a sudden more costs are added immediately to the budget when there may not be funds available to address the situation. Many areas work with limited funding that does not account for doing this type of work.
So what seems to happen a lot of times is that this maintenance keeps on getting put off, and the detailed records are not developed, nor is a repair project instituted. In time, when the something arises, they will replace things as they become aware of the need.
However, by making a water main valve exercise a priority, one can keep things in good working order. And that could save a lot of money over time and relieve a lot of headaches.
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