~ by Steve Guercia, Commercial and Public Water Supply Manager
Public Water Supplies – Education
Everyone that owns anything knows the problem that occurs when it breaks of deciding if it should be fixed, if it’s time to replace it, or if you need a better one. And, if it’s not broken but it’s critical to your operation, how do you decide if it should be replaced before it fails, potentially shutting down the system of which it’s a part?
Water systems are no different. Frequently they can be more difficult to manage because they tend to be “out of sight, out of mind.” Sometimes they are literally out of sight because some components are buried. So how do you decide if tanks, pumps, control panels, or treatment should be replaced? If it works today, will it work tomorrow? Or the next day? Will you know if it’s failing? And what’s the consequence if something doesn’t work?
We operate or sample over 130 small Public Water Supplies in NH. Together with our customers, we struggle with these questions every day. Recently, a retail plaza that we have operated for over 10 years started a major rebuild of the buildings and parking. We discussed the water system (not ours), which was built 30-40 years ago. The system works, but it would now be the weakest link in the plaza’s operational system.
We decided together that we would clean and inspect the buried storage tanks, replace the control panel, install a remote monitoring/alarm system, install variable frequency drives on the pumps, and upgrade treatment to provide better water quality to the tenants. We decided not to replace the booster pumps at this time.
The tank cleaning and inspection was the first task. The original tank thickness was 0.25 inches of steel. The inspection showed several areas where the tank thickness was only 0.04 inches. These tanks would have been leaking soon if we hadn’t inspected them. There were no indications of the damage because the tanks are buried.
Once the tanks were repaired, we proceeded with the new control panel installation. Since this is an existing plaza, we had to perform the work without shutting down the plaza. This required doing some of the work during the night when all the businesses were closed. We kept this work to a minimum to control the cost of off hours work.
The work required the scheduling and coordination of five contractors. The pump station is too small for several contractors to work at once, so coordinating schedules was critical. We worked hard to get the work done in the time frame the owner requested while controlling the budget wherever we could.
So when is the right time to do this with your system? That’s impossible to say. However, right now is the right time to discuss it.
If water is critical to your operation or if your water system components are over 10 years old, talk to Chris Vaughn, your primary operator. We will evaluate your system components, determine if a remote monitoring/alarm system would be beneficial, and provide recommendations and budgets for you. We have very long term relationships with manufacturers and vendors to provide all the services your system might need and we have the personnel to coordinate everyone to make the work as seamless as possible.
So contact us. If we operate or sample your system, there’s no cost for the evaluation. For others the cost is minimal.