(3) [Posted 1/5/2018] Jackson Mississippi did the correct thing in response to a water-use emergency created by low pressure, unlike the Oklahoma City situations during two successive outage situations in February and March of 2014. Bravo Jackson!
Low pressure events, defined as water pressure in the pipes being less than 25 pounds per square-inch, are problematic for more than one reason. First, low pressure in the pipes results in the intrusion of water from the surrounding soil back into the pipes as soon as the pressure within the pipes falls below that surrounding the outside of the pipe.
How does this happen? Do you mean there are leaks in the pipes? Yes. A city may have hundreds to thousands of miles of service lines for drinking water. Small Leaks are inevitable in the real world. We rely on the internal pressure of the fresh water tend to cause any tiny leak to at least be one where the clean water is squirting out into the soil. Of course, it that leak is large enough it can erode the soil and cause serious problems. I have seen leaks cause the asphalt to blister up and crack due to a leak from a water main–and some distance from the actual leak at that.
Any intrusion into a fresh water line represent a hazard that sources of fecal matter from humans or animals can make its way into the pipes. For many older cities, soils many contain the residues of contaminants from long-forgotten industrial wastes, etc. Both of these possibilities can represent hazards to health.
Another very serious problem with low pressure in fresh water pipes is that during such a condition, there is a serious compromise to the ability of a fire department to suppress a fire. If that low pressure event is city-wide and lasts for some hours, that is a very real possibility and it can be life threatening.
(2) [Posted 1/5/2018] Oklahoma school has fresh water turned off due to contamination of well. “‘It’s kind of crazy that this would happen, I don’t know how it would happen’, parent Ashley Welch said.” [Oh, it is actually not too hard to imagine–speaking as the former Total Coliform Rule Coordinator for the State of Oklahoma.]
[Exactly what was being poured into the well serving this Oklahoma school? And–no–mistakes like this should not happen. It is good that someone caught the problem. ]
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