RECORDS OF WATER MAINS AND VALVES

RECORDS OF WATER MAINS AND VALVES

About two years ago the water works of Aberdeen, S. Dak., was placed in direct charge of the City Engineer’s department. On taking over the work from the superintendent, it was found that no good records had been kept of the water system. The plant which existed was found to be not suitable for practical purposes. Many valves were shown on the wrong side of the street. Some existing valves were not shown at all, and, most serious of all, no record had been made showing if a certain valve was right or left. Whenever a break occurred in a main it was very difficult to locate the valves and to get the water shut off. At one time during the winter, a break in a large main could not be shut off. The department spent two days trying to shut off the leak, but was not successful. Finally all artesian wells were turned off, and the entire city was without water until the break was repaired. The entire city was thus placed in great danger in case a fire should occur at that time. The City Engineer’s department realizing the serious condition of affairs started a survey early last spring of the entire water works system. The water was shut off in sections and a great deal of trouble was caused by not being able to close all valves completely. This was partly overcome by opening a fire hydrant in the section that was proposed to be shut off, and the valves were opened and closed until the deposit in the valve seat had been washed out. As soon as a certain section was shut off, all valves were turned on again and all information in regard to these valves was put in a field book. Many valves were located with the aid of a magnetic needle. Some of them were from three to twelve inches beneath the surface of the ground. A total of one hundred and forty-two valves were found. Twenty-five of these valves were broken and twelve were found closed. Fifty valves were found of which there was no record, and about one thousand feet of mains were found of which there was no record. After all this information had been definitely obtained, a plat was made showing all mains, valves and hydrants. All valves were indicated on the plat as either right or left. This information has proved very valuable, and there have been several bad breaks in mains, but, with a complete record and plat, no trouble was encountered in shutting off the water. All valves found in bad repair were fixed or replaced. It should be the policy of every water works denartment to close the valves at least once every year. Some may be left closed by careless workmen, and this will hinder the circulation in the mains. A survey is now being made of all service connections. The city has no record at present of the location of the services. All service boxes are being located and the distance from the lot line taken. Many places have been found where there are several houses on one service with only one service box. A plat Is being prepared showing all services and their location. When this is completed the city will have a complete record of the entire water works system. After all this information has been obtained, the records should be kept up to date by a competent engineer. No town or city can afford to neglect this matter, for it is sure to bring disastrous results some day. —

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