Setting Examples

This month’s profiles cast a light on new technology and the right way to approach problems.

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This issue of MSW includes three profiles on progressive municipal utilities finding new ways to make their systems more efficient. Louisville Water is a great example. After investing years of effort and millions of dollars, the water utility has largely solved the problems in its smaller pipes and is now targeting its larger transmission mains.

The utility has a system in place for inspecting and assessing 8 to 10 miles of transmission main a year, with the goal of finding problems and fixing them before leaks or breaks create larger and more expensive problems. Their proactive approach is paying dividends and is a good example for other utilities to follow.

In Augusta, Ga., also profiled in this issue, new technology has made a big impact on how utility managers approach their system. Following the provisions of a consent order, they are inspecting their entire collections system with the help of some great new technology.

New assessment and inspection tools have allowed the collections department to assess far more pipe in less time than other traditional methods. Crews are inspecting whole neighborhoods in a week, where it may have taken two or three weeks in the past. They’re also getting better data and improving their GIS in the process. And two years into the five-year term of their consent order, they are way ahead of schedule.

A little further up the East Coast, the City of Danbury, N.C., has also turned to some new technology to improve the local water system. Ice pigging, a process in which a slushy brine is sent through the system to scour pipe walls, has made a big impact. The city was the first municipality in the country to formally contract for the service.

The presence of iron and manganese in the water left residents with dingy water that would sometimes stain clothes. Flushing the pipes clean of deposits proved counterproductive. Nothing solved the problem until the city decided to take a chance on ice pigging. It wasn’t a huge investment, didn’t require excavation or much downtime for the system, and carried no risk of harming the pipes. In the end, it was exactly the solution they had been seeking. The utility and its customers were all happy with the results, and things are a little better in Danbury.

All three of these utilities demonstrate the importance of being proactive and using technology to solve problems that have plagued their systems for years. I hope you can learn from their stories.

Expo time

This month’s issue of MSW also includes the first preview story on the 2014 Pumper & Cleaner Environmental Expo. It’s only November, but the show is just around the corner and now is the time to start making your plans.

The show has plenty to offer municipal workers, from continuing education credits to equipment demos and a massive show floor packed with all the latest tools and technology. There are countless opportunities to find new ways to improve your systems. Plus, there’s no better way to meet your peers and learn from their challenges and successes.

As an added bonus, you might get to rub elbows with some of the NFL’s top brass, since the NFL combine’s final two days overlap the start of the Expo. The combine is held at Lucas Oil Stadium, connected to the Indiana Convention Center, and the players, coaches and executives are all staying in the hotels connected to the convention center, so there are plenty of opportunities to see representatives from your favorite team.

I hope to see you in Indy.

Enjoy this month’s issue.

Comments on this column or about any article in this publication may be directed to editor Luke Laggis, 800/257-7222; editor@mswmag.com. 



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