Jan. 15, 2015 12:07

Water Main Breaks


This past year, especially in the Southern California area, we’ve seen more than the average number of water main breaks.

If you were watching the news when these breaks occurred, you saw that they wreaked havoc to the surrounding areas. Many streets flooded; in addition, the break in Westwood flooded the basketball arena at UCLA, where they had just recently installed a new wooden floor. Needless to say, it had to be replaced.

The costs to repair these breaks are enormous. Think of the cost of labor—the millions (sometimes billions) of gallons of potable water that is lost—but more importantly, the erosion that occurs. And it’s beginning to happen more frequently.

Sooner or later, instead of putting a band-aid on the problem, we’re going to have to rebuild and replace the infrastructure for water, bridges and highways. All are in desperate disrepair. As this is going on, manufacturers continue to use new techniques and technology to design new products.

Recently, the mayor of Los Angeles has been talking about earthquakes and how he is trying to encourage property owners to reinforce their buildings so they wouldn’t collapse in a heavy quake. He also spoke of the damage a quake would cause to the antiquated water system, especially the pipes.

He went on to say that new materials are being used to make these large diameter pipes, and that they now have some flexibility to them. He said that when these pipes are installed, should an earthquake occur, they will have enough give to move a little with the ground.

I marveled at this new technology and began to think back to when pipes were made of clay, then wood, then galvanized iron, then PVC and now this. I look at how much better a job we can do today to contain spills in our lakes, rivers and oceans.

There are many more tools and products available now to help us do a better job. Equally as important, we are much better educated and informed to handle these situations.

The International Erosion Control Association will hold its annual Environmental Connection Conference and Trade Show on February 15-18, in Portland, Oregon. I would urge everyone in our industry to make the trip. There will be much to learn and lots to see.

Knowing that we’re staying on the cutting edge makes me feel good that our industry is developing new technology and new techniques to control erosion and storm water contamination.

I know now that our future is in good hands.

Also in From the Publisher

In many ways, we are fortunate that, in our chosen profession, we are able to help people when certain disasters occur: the tornadoes in Missouri, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Georgia, the flooding in Louisiana, the snows in the northeastern part of the country, the rain in California, and the snow in Colorado....

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