Your Infrastructure Tells the Story

Sewer and water systems form an outline of your city’s past and future.

Your water and wastewater systems are closely intertwined with the history of your communities, and they quite literally lay the groundwork for your future.

In many ways, your systems tell the story of how your communities developed. Like an old map of planned development — following streets and rail corridors, running through backyards and green spaces; even wooded areas where planned streets were never built — your systems tell a history. They are a source of life.

Maintaining and modernizing those buried systems without disrupting much of what’s sprouted and grown above ground can be a challenge.

The Louisville (Kentucky) Water Company is meeting that challenge head-on. Louisville, profiled in this issue of MSW, was forced to address an old and failing transmission main. After three catastrophic breaks, the 48-inch cast iron main had to be replaced.

The 6.4-mile Eastern Parkway Project is complicated by the fact that it follows an historic and heavily traveled boulevard through established neighborhoods, a shopping district and popular recreation areas. The utility didn’t want to cause major traffic or service disruptions, or damage the tree-lined character of the corridor.

To meet the objectives, Louisville Water scheduled the work for winter, engaged in a thorough public outreach campaign, and most important, the old pipe is being sliplined with steel to keep the above-ground impact to a minimum.

Along the way, crews unearthed an enormous water valve, 12 feet high and weighing more than 100,000 pounds, that had been buried for more than a century. It’s now on its way to the city’s Water Works Museum, located in the city’s original pump house No. 1 along the Ohio River and dedicated to exhibiting the history of the water infrastructure that serves the area.

The project is preserving the character of the neighborhoods above, the history of quality service, and now, unexpectedly, an actual piece of cast iron history.

Up in Ottawa, Ontario, the Public Works and Environmental Services Department is preserving some history as well. The utility, also profiled in this issue, serves Canada’s capital city. The city has made significant progress against CSOs in recent years, but overflows to the Ottawa River have led to construction of a combined sewage storage tunnel to retain as many as 11.3 million gallons of sewer overflow for treatment.

The importance of water quality in the city’s Rideau Canal is also significant, as it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America. In addition to protecting the canal, the tunnel system had to be designed to protect several other historic landmarks.

Both cities have taken steps to preserve their history, and just as important, to ensure a healthy future. In a general sense, all water and wastewater utilities are charged with that task.

That’s what makes the work you do so important.

You might not ever have to preserve the water quality for a UNESCO World Heritage Site or slipline a major sewer line down the middle of an historic boulevard without disrupting anything on the surface, but you’re still protecting history and building a future.

Enjoy this month’s issue.


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