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Old 09-25-2016, 06:31 PM   #21
tangent
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Re: Water

Fixing leaks is good. There was a concerted effort to fix leaks starting in the 1960s and it paid off big time. But at some point there are diminished returns and high costs in terms of digging up streets (and people's yards) to fix leaks.

Although that is probably a big systemic issue right there. People are responsible for paying for their metered water use and it appears in most municipalities they are also responsible for the pipes between the public street and the house. And the meter is at the house...

Meaning systemically we have people that don't care about leaks in pipes they are responsible for maintaining until and unless it affects water quality. In fact leaks in the pipes coming to your house will water any trees you might have and won't impact your water bill.
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Old 09-25-2016, 06:54 PM   #22
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Re: Water

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Originally Posted by tangent View Post
Fixing leaks is good. There was a concerted effort to fix leaks starting in the 1960s and it paid off big time. But at some point there are diminished returns and high costs in terms of digging up streets (and people's yards) to fix leaks.

Although that is probably a big systemic issue right there. People are responsible for paying for their metered water use and it appears in most municipalities they are also responsible for the pipes between the public street and the house. And the meter is at the house...

Meaning systemically we have people that don't care about leaks in pipes they are responsible for maintaining until and unless it affects water quality. In fact leaks in the pipes coming to your house will water any trees you might have and won't impact your water bill.
Diminishing returns? Hardly. Most of the leakage is on the interconnections between large mains and smaller mains, not hookup at an individual building. Drippage at an individual private structure's connection is too small in the grand scheme to make a tangible impact, even when tallying up the millions of leaks at a building connection. And individual structures are renewed more often than the mains historically have been, so simple development overchurn takes care of more SGR issues at the private hookup than those 120-year-old iron mains nobody can be arsed to dig up. Conservation is exponential the more you do SGR to the wholly-public higher-capacity infrastructure. In that focus group transcribing job I did these municipal water district engineers hammered at that point constantly.
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Old 09-25-2016, 07:40 PM   #23
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Re: Water

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Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
Diminishing returns? Hardly. Most of the leakage is on the interconnections between large mains and smaller mains, not hookup at an individual building. Drippage at an individual private structure's connection is too small in the grand scheme to make a tangible impact, even when tallying up the millions of leaks at a building connection. And individual structures are renewed more often than the mains historically have been, so simple development overchurn takes care of more SGR issues at the private hookup than those 120-year-old iron mains nobody can be arsed to dig up. Conservation is exponential the more you do SGR to the wholly-public higher-capacity infrastructure. In that focus group transcribing job I did these municipal water district engineers hammered at that point constantly.
OK looks like the water main work mostly happened in the 1980s and 1990s:

http://www.mwra.state.ma.us/04water/html/wsupdate.htm



That leveling off since 2010 is what I was talking about in terms of diminishing returns. Probably still a lot to be done, but I think you are talking about a higher percentage of smaller mains and service lines now. Considering the median home age in Massachusetts is second highest in the US.

Looks like the MWRA communities are good for 50% additional total water usage. And we have seen about 4% population growth in the last 5 years.

So yes it is sustainable for 40/50 years at around that rate (inside the MWRA communities). But I wouldn't count on being able to continue to make gains against leaks in the system, if anything the major fixes are aging already and likely to become more of a problem as the system ages.

That's where I get the 30 to 40 year number.
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Old 09-25-2016, 07:42 PM   #24
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Re: Water

1.) I feel like the Desert Southwest needs to launch a Manhattan Project-style crash course to develop economically competitive and ecologically sustainable desalinization infrastructure, now. Perhaps something in collaborative partnership with the Israelis or any other societies in similarly arid region that are willing to partner up on such an intense undertaking. But so far, I haven't read anything about such a thing taking place. Meanwhile, how does that 1920s-era six-state compact for the Colorado River basin allocation continue to survive?!?

2.) As far as I know, the twin bibles for the West and its water remain Wallace Stegner's "Beyond The 100th Meridian: John Wesley Powell & The Second Opening of the West", and Marc Reisner's "Cadillac Desert: The American West & Its Disappearing Water"

3.) Back home in our (normally) well-watered region, I've always mused about how some savvy entrepreneur might be able to develop a friendly/entertaining shower alarm that gives polite warnings as a shower is reaching the 5-minute mark and then cuts it off, politely. It seems like there should be a great market for that, and that if it caught on it could rapidly translate to savings of billions of gallons a year for the Quabbin watershed/user communities....
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Old 09-25-2016, 08:45 PM   #25
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Re: Water

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1.) I feel like the Desert Southwest needs to launch a Manhattan Project-style crash course to develop economically competitive and ecologically sustainable desalinization infrastructure, now. Perhaps something in collaborative partnership with the Israelis or any other societies in similarly arid region that are willing to partner up on such an intense undertaking. But so far, I haven't read anything about such a thing taking place. Meanwhile, how does that 1920s-era six-state compact for the Colorado River basin allocation continue to survive?!?

2.) As far as I know, the twin bibles for the West and its water remain Wallace Stegner's "Beyond The 100th Meridian: John Wesley Powell & The Second Opening of the West", and Marc Reisner's "Cadillac Desert: The American West & Its Disappearing Water"
Agreed. The Colorado River compact is fucked, and is fated to be one of the 21st century's greatest environmental and economic catastrophes in this country. Though I don't think desalination is going to be the first move. Preemptive R&D simply never is the first move. Vegas going the way of Atlantic City and de-populating into destitute half-abandoned ruins when the cheap-water party is over is going to be the first effect. We're going to learn the hard way that you can't build fake oases on credit. Vegas will be the casualty of the burst bubble that makes everybody else confront sobering reality. The only thing that will save the rest of the West is for that sobering process to be absolutely lifestyle-shaking to the core. It's not nearly enough, but at least California is making halting steps at preemptive conservation--including *some* stepped-up water main replacement to attack the transmission losses--and drilling the idea into its citizens that this is a lifestyle change, not a temporary adjustment to crisis. I don't get the impression any of the other 5 states in the compact have had their denial punctured yet. Or will until it's panic time in a way that the most recent drought hasn't triggered true panic time. "Water Wars" indeed.

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3.) Back home in our (normally) well-watered region, I've always mused about how some savvy entrepreneur might be able to develop a friendly/entertaining shower alarm that gives polite warnings as a shower is reaching the 5-minute mark and then cuts it off, politely. It seems like there should be a great market for that, and that if it caught on it could rapidly translate to savings of billions of gallons a year for the Quabbin watershed/user communities....
This is what I mean about Jetsons Shit attacking the wrong problem. Shower alarm doohickeys are fine for the home-automation enthusiasts who voluntarily like to have their lives gadgeted up. I don't think basic human psychology makes that a thing the everyman would find helpful, but to each his wired-up own. There's absolutely no billions in savings to have there, though, because you spend more money subsidizing the doohickeys than a single shower head in a single unit's dwelling will ever recoup in saved water. That's attacking scale from the dead-wrongest end. This is not like a $2 low-flow shower head available for 45 in bulk being baked into the building code. The threshold for cost recovery on component innovation is an extremely tough target to meet because anything new and innovating is going to be patented IP that costs more out of newness and licensing than the meager savings in consumption will return at the end user.

Again...the experts who run potable municipal water systems are emphatic and in unison that the #1 problem is bulk transmission losses, especially at the connections of a larger municipal mains to a next- less-large branching main. Not waste at the residential end-user. Believe harder than any human has ever believed before in some alternate-reality pet theory until one passes out from lack of oxygen...it doesn't overturn the real math tabulated by real experts that shows the orders-of-magnitude difference. The problem is top-down--or more accurately middle-down/upper-lower--not bottom-up. I can't put it any more simply than that. You are wasting your time coming up with Crazy Water Pitches because the thought of digging up a million miles worth of street grid to roll back deferred-maintenance is too boring or aesthetically unpleasing. Captain Obvious already spoke decades ago, and nobody's been listening to him. Fine...just don't claim that by not listening to Captain Obvious that these solutions are addressing the real problems at hand.



Conservation on the consumption end, as I alluded to earlier, goes hand-in-hand with troubleshooting the overall sustainability of sprawl development. The most wasteful water users are the most wasteful land users. Water waste is endemic to sprawl. Nobody needs acres of manicured lawns fronting the parking lots of their suburban corporate HQ campus if no human or wildlife is going to use that lawn for anything. It not only wastes water to have the sprinklers going all the time, but takes hundreds of pounds of petroleum-wasting processed fertilizer--with all the pollution concerns about runoff when used in such sustained high quantities--and a small army of weekly labor to maintain all that landscaping that serves no functional use. You can take specific actions to curb water use at wasteful sites like these, but ultimately it's the holistic approach to taming sprawl that accomplishes the job by overturning piss-poor land usage like this for something better.

We don't build giant water-and-fertilizer wasting lawns for people to stay hundreds of feet away from when we're building things with mindfulness for optimal acre-for-acre land use. Note that a lot of best-practices single-family housing developments that strive for faux-density almost universally feature very small lawns to go with the narrower streets, traffic calming, and pedestrian touches that are hallmarks of that planning motif. And note that when a redevelopment of a valuable parcel with woeful land use packs in greater density, it caters the greenspace to people spaces (even the pet peeve four-letter "greenspace" that let you in close but still keep you on the concrete and off the grass). None of that is a coincidence. Better land use begats better water use. That goes for standards and practices for new development, as well as de-sprawling efforts for old development. And the places that are still binging on new sprawl are going to have the biggest issues with excessive water use per capita. Doubly so if they keep hitting the sprawl crackpipe while simultaneously not minding the SGR for their transmission infrastructure.
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Old 09-25-2016, 09:12 PM   #26
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Re: Water

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Originally Posted by BostonUrbEx View Post
It doesn't really seem to be a major issue at present.

http://www.masslive.com/news/index.s...ns_impa.html#0

Dips to 87% appear to be common. 85% is the lowest end of the "normal" range. Apparently 60% is the threshold for mandatory water restrictions and the reservoir has a 6-year supply with no rain.

Population in 2015 was 19% greater than in 1900, yet the water use was equivalent.

Economical desalination will probably be around by the time it would ever be an issue for us.
For comparision's sake, here's Worcester's situation:

- Stage 3 Drought Warning
- Reservoir Capacity as of 9/21/2016: 50.7% (entire system capacity is 7,379.9 Million Gallons)
- Entire system is drawing ~24 million per day (Worcester also supplies water to several water districts bordering the city)

Outside of the MWRA network, the state as a whole is hurting
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Old 09-25-2016, 11:38 PM   #27
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Re: Water

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Originally Posted by DBM View Post
1.) I feel like the Desert Southwest needs to launch a Manhattan Project-style crash course to develop economically competitive and ecologically sustainable desalinization infrastructure, now. Perhaps something in collaborative partnership with the Israelis or any other societies in similarly arid region that are willing to partner up on such an intense undertaking. But so far, I haven't read anything about such a thing taking place. Meanwhile, how does that 1920s-era six-state compact for the Colorado River basin allocation continue to survive?!? .
The big thing to keep in mind with Western water use is that the use isn't where you think it is. LA? San Diego? They're extremely unimportant to water use, and even if you slashed their water use by 50%, what would you accomplish? You'd accomplish a 10% drop in water consumption.

Why? Because ~80% of Western water use is agriculture. Largely to grow crops that shouldn't be grown in any remotely water-limited environment. And because of absurd water rights allocations, there's little incentive for any sort of efficiency in many cases, since much of the water rights are use it or lose it and seniority based.

So no one is going to die. We just might have to stop doing things like 700,000 acres of almonds (and extremely water-intensive crop) in the middle of the desert.
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Old 09-26-2016, 04:23 AM   #28
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Re: Water

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Originally Posted by tangent View Post
OK looks like the water main work mostly happened in the 1980s and 1990s:


That leveling off since 2010 is what I was talking about in terms of diminishing returns. Probably still a lot to be done, but I think you are talking about a higher percentage of smaller mains and service lines now. Considering the median home age in Massachusetts is second highest in the US.

Looks like the MWRA communities are good for 50% additional total water usage. And we have seen about 4% population growth in the last 5 years.

So yes it is sustainable for 40/50 years at around that rate (inside the MWRA communities). But I wouldn't count on being able to continue to make gains against leaks in the system, if anything the major fixes are aging already and likely to become more of a problem as the system ages.

That's where I get the 30 to 40 year number.
Tangent -- there is still a lot of leak fixing to do; What you showed in the plot is primarily the MWRA coming into existence in the course of building covered reservoirs and a major treatment facility a lot of major pipe and tunnel was replaced / relined, etc.

But the MWRA is only responsible for the supply of the water to the member cities and towns -- wholesale -- beyond the MWRA's meter -- the local municipalities need to do their own fixing

Even in Boston with one of the notoriously venerable and leaky systems [BWSC] the fixing has been slow. This is partly because the system is so venerable that even wood pipe was still in use carrying water until quire recently.

It's also partly because there are significant sized pipes which are not on anyone's map. Some of these pipes are discovered when a 9' to 12" main breaks and tears up the street -- after the appropriate valves are shut water continues to flow through some long forgotten 4" main which branched off a 9" branch main. 2 blocks away. And then there are the broken pipes leaking water into old CSO's discharging into the Charles or the Harbor.

Back about 40 years ago one summer there was a problem with getting water to the top of the then John Hancock Tower - - A major break was suspected. However, despite closing Huntington Avenue over night so that teams could descend on it and use electronically amplified stethoscopes to search for tell tale leak sounds -- no luck. Someone canoeing on the Charles accidentally discovered a huge stream of water bubbling up near where an early Victorian Era brick CSO emptied into the river. When it was traced back some distance it was found to have been crossed by the 48" main that had been installed in the early 1900 time frame. Approximately 1 Million Gallons per day was leaking into the Charles for some time.

Based on work I've personally seen being done in Lexington there is probably enough leak fixing to accommodate the next 10 to 20 years of growth in population. Throw in the much more water stingy modern plumbing and growth can almost be accommodated within the MWRA cities and towns just based on aggressive leak reduction and modernity of the plumbing in new construction and retrofits for the foreseeable future

Last edited by whighlander; 09-26-2016 at 04:35 AM.
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Old 09-26-2016, 05:58 AM   #29
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Re: Water

How much can Insituform (basically an epoxy- impregnated stent-lining that is inverted, inflated, and hardens) be the solution, or us the real problem at joints (not runs)?

PS there is a Quabbin & MWRA Water & Sewer thread that should be merged with this
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Old 09-26-2016, 09:23 AM   #30
tangent
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Re: Water

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Originally Posted by WormtownNative View Post
For comparision's sake, here's Worcester's situation:

- Stage 3 Drought Warning
- Reservoir Capacity as of 9/21/2016: 50.7% (entire system capacity is 7,379.9 Million Gallons)
- Entire system is drawing ~24 million per day (Worcester also supplies water to several water districts bordering the city)

Outside of the MWRA network, the state as a whole is hurting
Which is one of my concerns... MWRA is in OK shape for the next 30 to 40 years based on the demand of the MWRA communities themselves, but that doesn't take into consideration the needs of non-MWRA communities which will need to connect to the MWRA during extended droughts.
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Old 09-26-2016, 09:40 AM   #31
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Re: Water

A well-functioning market should be able to take care of water scarcity issues. If demand exceeds supply, just let price rise. Infrastructure maintenance projects will then look better from a strict cost-benefit calculation and everyone will have more incentive to conserve on the individual and firm level.

The amount of consumer surplus in the water markets is enormous (it's a classic example of this) so it's not even as if people would feel particularly squeezed. The flip side of that is that there is a lot of room for price to rise before conservation really kicks in.
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Old 09-26-2016, 10:54 AM   #32
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Re: Water

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Originally Posted by Arlington View Post
How much can Insituform (basically an epoxy- impregnated stent-lining that is inverted, inflated, and hardens) be the solution, or us the real problem at joints (not runs)?

PS there is a Quabbin & MWRA Water & Sewer thread that should be merged with this
Ah...now I'm having flashbacks to that transcription project. Because the crux of it was all about that damn epoxy lining.


Without violating my NDA with proprietary detail disclosures or lulling everyone to sleep. . .

  • Setting the lining is important. There's lots of new epoxies from Euro-land that make the job easier and require fewer follow-up site visits to fix things that didn't set right. Big, big innovation in the last 15+ years because the industrial supply chain is expecting water main replacements to become a non-optional growth market.
They are investing despite there being disappointing growth so far, because it's not a matter of if but when California is so screwed it must confront its transmission losses. And digging up a million miles worth of streets in Cali to plug their transmission losses will ultimately be cheaper and faster than building supply-side infrastructure like mass-scale desalination instead...so that's the only way forward.

  • We aren't using enough of the innovative good stuff because "[old crap] is how we've always done it!". This is not incompetence, but a direct byproduct of the disinterest in investing in potable water SGR. Education spreads slowly because nobody thinks systematically of a water system...until it bursts and it's time to break out the band-aid. It's very hard to get into the potable water pipe-fitting industry without knowing what you're doing because contamination fuck-ups on water people have to drink are doubleplusbad, so it is not that municipal water systems are run by political hacks. Far from it. It's the information barrier of them being so under-equipped to network with colleagues and get samples of the new liners/expoxies. The industry's making a big marketing splash to reach the Podunk, Nowheresville water districts to break down the isolation.


  • The U.S. is generally quite good at doing sewer systems. Mainly because it's more self-motivating at the gov't level: an installation fuck-up or egregiously deferred SGR leaves a smelly mess, EPA paper trail, and very irate voters who never forget that stench. It's still way, way underfunded at the "big main meets less-big main" interconnections level, but top-down projects like outflow pipelines (see Boston Harbor) and modernizing individual sewage treatment plants have come night-and-day where they were 25 years ago. This hasn't translated to potable water because as long as you don't fuck up an installation so bad you introduce contamination it's all out-of-sight/out-of-mind until there's another bad break to band-aid.

  • Liners and shit are only as good as you use them. And we don't use them until something breaks, so the tyrannosaurus in the room is still transmission losses on all the old mains that are in-process of failing at the seals...but haven't catastrophically failed. Repeat this statement until it is Gospel: Deferred SGR is the #1 enemy for water waste, and that does not change until we start caring about transmission losses instead of catastrophic loss of service.
Say that in your head every...single...time there's a "Yeah, but..." thought about attacking something tangential to topic instead because the thought of dull SGR is too unpleasing. I listened to 12 hours of focus group recordings from preeminent experts in the field where each and every bloody one of them emphatically stated there's no excuses, no excuses, no other way. Say it! No "Crazy Water Pitches", just git-'R-dun.

  • Impetus for change is NOT going to come from new monitoring technology to see which mains are having the most transmission losses meriting a dig-up or which mains are at greatest risk for catastrophic failure. They already know this information. They always have. Everything's metered. They know down to the street interconnection level where and how much transmission loss is occurring. They know exactly which mains ones should be getting SGR based on rate of transmission losses, but because budgeting only allows band-aids hands are tied to sit on these losses until catastrophic failure is imminent.
Furthermore, regs for about 80 years now have required immaculate record-keeping on new installations, right down to the last stretch of municipal pipe that does the house interconnections. Pipe manufacture type/date/vendor/batch, epoxy + liner type/date/vendor/batch, installer, install method...all documented. It's documented because of that whole "contamination of potable water by botched installation is career suicide for you, your boss, your boss's boss, and your Mayor" thing. The only mains that are a "Thar Be Dragons" status are the lengths of literal 19th century pipes that remain which haven't been chopped up by any new drop-in replacements during the regulatory era.
This is all quite unlike electrical and telco cabling which is an unmapped clusterfuck even on recent installations. And unlike sewers, where as long as it's in safe containment it's less critical to know precisely where it's coming/going and what the pipes and seals are made of.

Repeat: they have known exactly which pipes have been leaking and how bad all along. It's not ignorance, negligence, or lack of newfangled monitoring tech. It's budget, resources, and the will to provide water systems with budget and resources. No resources for non-emergency replacements...no resources for digging up the street...no resources for jumping through all the permitting and community input hoops, or streamlining any of it. They sit for catastrophe because that's the only move they have the resources to take action on. No "Crazy Water Pitches" solutions! Get to work!
Sorry if I sound irate over this...I'm not. I'm just trying to convey in words the palpable sense of urgency that was loud, clear, and universal in those hours of transcripts. It was too wide a swath of experts at the industry/supplier level, R&D level, and municipal administrator level singing the same song in unison to ignore. Literally nothing else matters than taming the transmission losses with SGR. It is bigger than every other supply-side and conservation move (all of which we should be exploring) combined. There's no alternate viewpoint here because the facts are overwhelming. If you're going to be considering a spread of other things like consumer-side conservation initiatives or entertaining new technological innovations...then the consumer-side initiatives and new innovations are a 30% slice of a pie that's 70% transmission SGR. No cherry-picking fringe elements to make ourselves feel better that we're too unmotivated to take on 70% of the job.
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Old 09-27-2016, 05:41 AM   #33
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Re: Water

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Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
Ah...now I'm having flashbacks to that transcription project. Because the crux of it was all about that damn epoxy lining.

Without violating my NDA with proprietary detail disclosures or lulling everyone to sleep. . .

Impetus for change is NOT going to come from new monitoring technology to see which mains are having the most transmission losses meriting a dig-up or which mains are at greatest risk for catastrophic failure. They already know this information. They always have. Everything's metered. They know down to the street interconnection level where and how much transmission loss is occurring. They know exactly which mains ones should be getting SGR based on rate of transmission losses, but because budgeting only allows band-aids hands are tied to sit on these losses until catastrophic failure is imminent.

Furthermore, regs for about 80 years now have required immaculate record-keeping on new installations, right down to the last stretch of municipal pipe that does the house interconnections. Pipe manufacture type/date/vendor/batch, epoxy + liner type/date/vendor/batch, installer, install method...all documented. It's documented because of that whole "contamination of potable water by botched installation is career suicide for you, your boss, your boss's boss, and your Mayor" thing. The only mains that are a "Thar Be Dragons" status are the lengths of literal 19th century pipes that remain which haven't been chopped up by any new drop-in replacements during the regulatory era.
The above statement might apply to large mains -- but its blatantly untrue for the smaller ones which were major mains back before the era of scrupulous record keeping

Boston in the bad old days used to have a boat cruise around the CSO's when there had been no rain looking for "water a bublin" -- there were always leaks

There were also plenty of undocumented interconnections -- back in the 1970's a friend of mine at MIT did a network modeling project for what is now the BWSC -- he needed to incorporate a whole bunch of random interconnects at the levels below 9" in order to make his model [incorporating all the known pipes] fit the measured flows and pressures when known valves were closed

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Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
This is all quite unlike electrical and telco cabling which is an unmapped clusterfuck even on recent installations. And unlike sewers, where as long as it's in safe containment it's less critical to know precisely where it's coming/going and what the pipes and seals are made of.
F-line if you really believe that stay away from anything electrical above a single AA.

The kind of random interconnects that exist throughout the water and sewer networks with only minor annoyances would cause BIG Sparks and fires even at 120 VAC distribution in residential districts. Do that with some of the buried high voltage oil filled cables and you would have a conflagration

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Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
Repeat: they have known exactly which pipes have been leaking and how bad all along. It's not ignorance, negligence, or lack of newfangled monitoring tech. It's budget, resources, and the will to provide water systems with budget and resources. No resources for non-emergency replacements...no resources for digging up the street...no resources for jumping through all the permitting and community input hoops, or streamlining any of it. They sit for catastrophe because that's the only move they have the resources to take action on. No "Crazy Water Pitches" solutions! Get to work!
Then Boston must be in much better shape than the equally old suburban pipes. Leak detection and fixing in the western suburbs is a major on-going enterprise, although not quite on the scale of National Grid's leak checking for the gas distribution network.

Why? -- Because the MWRA meters the water entering the town's network and the town meters the water entering a residence or commercial establishment. The difference between the two is water that the Town pays for but can't bill to an individual. As a result the town has to raise everyone's rates since the town operates the water and sewer as an enterprise fund.

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Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
Sorry if I sound irate over this...I'm not. I'm just trying to convey in words the palpable sense of urgency that was loud, clear, and universal in those hours of transcripts. It was too wide a swath of experts at the industry/supplier level, R&D level, and municipal administrator level singing the same song in unison to ignore. Literally nothing else matters than taming the transmission losses with SGR. It is bigger than every other supply-side and conservation move (all of which we should be exploring) combined. There's no alternate viewpoint here because the facts are overwhelming. If you're going to be considering a spread of other things like consumer-side conservation initiatives or entertaining new technological innovations...then the consumer-side initiatives and new innovations are a 30% slice of a pie that's 70% transmission SGR. No cherry-picking fringe elements to make ourselves feel better that we're too unmotivated to take on 70% of the job.
Maybe the sense of urgency is all about who is doing the urging?
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Old 09-27-2016, 10:10 AM   #34
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Re: Water

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Originally Posted by whighlander View Post
The above statement might apply to large mains -- but its blatantly untrue for the smaller ones which were major mains back before the era of scrupulous record keeping

[*snip*]
Asked and answered in the post you barely read, Professor. If it's 1920's or newer, it's mapped. You're not refuting anything by citing a cool personal anecdote of what totes-obviously is the exception to the rule. Boston pipes are exceptional outliers vs. the age of vast majority of MWRA infrastructure. This sort of...uh...goes to the whole point of the thread.
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F-line if you really believe that stay away from anything electrical above a single AA.
Right...you stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night, and I listened to 12 hours of transcripts from experts who managed whole teams doing Dig Safe for a career and cited for the questioner the differences in record-keeping for different types of under-street utilities. Try not to shoot the messenger when people at the tops of their profession are saying this on-the-record. Perhaps offer an evidence-backed citation of your own. For a change. Or better yet, skip the unwashed philistine middlemen of the Interwebs altogether and walk right up to the nearest work crew, ask them for a helmet, and show them how it's really done with your vast reserves of non-specific personal anecdotes. Go on...don't be bashful. The thread waits in baited breath for your published journal piece on how you innovated the shit out of their jobs to thunderous applause.
Quote:
Then Boston must be in much better shape than the equally old suburban pipes. Leak detection and fixing in the western suburbs is a major on-going enterprise, although not quite on the scale of National Grid's leak checking for the gas distribution network.

Why? -- Because the MWRA meters the water entering the town's network and the town meters the water entering a residence or commercial establishment. The difference between the two is water that the Town pays for but can't bill to an individual. As a result the town has to raise everyone's rates since the town operates the water and sewer as an enterprise fund.
Now this is an adorable bit of willful overgeneralization ^right here^.

Municipal water managers say they're metered at several mid-level branching points...down enough levels that you can peg a discrepancy in the readouts at the subdivision level or batch of streets level. Then cross-ref their records and sleuth from there to find the problem within a reliably small subset of the grid without picking the wrong part of the grid by mistake. And use these sleuthing methods in any water district--even one with "Thar Be Dragons!"-old 19th c. pipes--because the art of basic layout for branching potable water pipes was more or less perfected to best practices 150 years ago.

But because it's variable from place to place how many levels of interconnects there are--on account of that obscure psychobabble concept called "density"--when you really put your thinking caps the fact that we don't know everything right down to the last leaky fire hydrant means we we actually don't know anything. Gaaah! Water comes into town...water comes out of faucet...the fuck does anyone know what happens to it in-between! It'd be scary if it weren't transparently hyperbolic bullshit intent on derailing another factual discussion with truckfulls of deflection.





. . .


Wait for it....wait for it. . .
Quote:
Maybe the sense of urgency is all about who is doing the urging?
And there it is. Got nuthin', so turn a tart phrase at the recipient of the reply and run...bravely run. Don't ever change, Professor. Court jesters can be thespians in their own minds while making a career of hitting their own faces with pie for cheap lulz.
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Old 09-27-2016, 04:05 PM   #35
whighlander
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Re: Quabbin & MWRA Water & Sewer

F-Line -- Do you remember the weird incident of a few years ago [April 2008] when a 12" high pressure water main blow-out [State Street between Devonshire St. and Washington St.]penetrated a 6" National Grid natural gas line and compromised the natural gas distribution network in the Financial District and the North End -- it ultimately affected about 400 mostly commercial customers

Experts who popped-off to the media confidently predicted months of interrupted service and uncertainty as to how to clean the water out of the system completely

Actual time it took was only a few days as water and gas have one thing not in common -- the effect of gravity -- all of the water quickly pooled in the unintentional traps present in the gas network where pipes dipped to avoid other utilities

The back story is especially interesting in the context of our discussion

http://archive.boston.com/news/local...sts/?page=full
Quote:
Ruptured pipe had recently passed tests

Marty Kilgullen (foreground) and Bill Mayer observed as Aaron Ferreira cleaned a gas pipe on Congress Street April 28. (David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)

By John C. Drake
Globe Staff / June 1, 2008

The water main that burst in the Financial District in April, flooding streets and unleashing a torrent of water into natural gas lines, was tested for leaks just two months before the rupture and determined to be sound, according to Boston Water and Sewer Commission maintenance reports.

Six years ago, a commission crew had detected a loud noise near the pipe, which indicated possible leaks or weakness in the 12-inch line, after water flooded the basement of the nearby Old State House. But a follow-up test at that time determined that it was leak-free, according to the records, released to the Globe af ter a written request.

The maintenance reports deepen the mystery about what caused the 100-year-old pipe under State Street between Devonshire and Washington streets to break on April 26....."We believe this is an extremely isolated incident," said John Sullivan, chief engineer for the Water and Sewer Commission, an agency whose three commissioners are appointed by Mayor Thomas M. Menino. "I don't believe this is a poor-condition pipe."

Tom Curtis, deputy executive director of the American Water Works Association, a national organization, said the results of the Feb. 20 test were an indication that external factors might have caused the leak.

"That test would be an indication that the pipe was sound and not leaking at the time the test was conducted and then something obviously changed to cause the pipe failure," said Curtis, a specialist on utility management and infrastructure replacement....Some advocates for establishing a state fund for replacing drinking water infrastructure said the rupture points to the danger of leaving aging pipes, designed to last a century or less, underground.

Water commission officials, however, contended that they regularly monitor pipes for leaks and say, that, despite the pipe's age, it is more likely that vibrations from construction work in the area or other utility work caused the break.

Steve Estes-Smargiassi, director of planning at the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, said the Water and Sewer Commission tests nearly all of its 1,100 miles of water mains for leaks annually, even though the authority only requires testing every other year.

On Sept. 5, 2002, a maintenance supervisor for the Old State House at State and Devonshire streets reported water had flooded the historic building's basement. An initial commission work crew could not find the source of the leak and ordered a sound-detection test for the next day.

The crew used a geophone, which works the same way as a stethoscope, to listen for potential leaks underground. They detected a loud noise in the vicinity of the water main. A follow-up test on Sept. 9, in which valves along the water main were checked for noise to pinpoint a possible leak, indicated none was present.

By that time the flooding of the Old State House basement had stopped, so the commission halted its investigation, Sullivan said. Officials never determined what caused the flooding but said it was not a problem with the pipe, he said.

"It must have been something else," Sullivan said, suggesting it might have been ground water seepage.

This year, on Feb. 20, the commission conducted a routine sweep of mains in the Financial District for possible leaks, using data collected from computerized sound-detection equipment connected directly to the pipes. The sweep, conducted between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. to minimize the presence of background noise, reported no sounds from leaks.

Sullivan said renovations to the State Street MBTA subway station and recent excavations by other utilities might have caused vibrations that compromised the water main.

MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo disputed that work on the T could have been the cause.

"No well-informed person believes the T's contractor caused or contributed to the water main break," Pesaturo said in an e-mail.

Water and Sewer Commission spokesman Tom Bagley said investigations into the cause of the rupture had not been completed. Bagley said it may be a few more weeks before the cause becomes clear.
So we had dueling experts who were pushing their own personal agendas or covering their respective organizations arses .....
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Old 09-27-2016, 08:27 PM   #36
FK4
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Re: Quabbin & MWRA Water & Sewer

Quote:
Originally Posted by whighlander View Post
F-Line -- Do you remember the weird incident of a few years ago [April 2008] when a 12" high pressure water main blow-out [State Street between Devonshire St. and Washington St.]penetrated a 6" National Grid natural gas line and compromised the natural gas distribution network in the Financial District and the North End -- it ultimately affected about 400 mostly commercial customers

Experts who popped-off to the media confidently predicted months of interrupted service and uncertainty as to how to clean the water out of the system completely

Actual time it took was only a few days as water and gas have one thing not in common -- the effect of gravity -- all of the water quickly pooled in the unintentional traps present in the gas network where pipes dipped to avoid other utilities

The back story is especially interesting in the context of our discussion

http://archive.boston.com/news/local...sts/?page=full


So we had dueling experts who were pushing their own personal agendas or covering their respective organizations arses .....
Checking the sound of leaks with computer equipment at 4am.... all the infrastructure under the ground that keeps things going is just amazing... people never think about all the unsung work beneath their feet but it's really remarkable what runs underneath the streets...
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Old 09-28-2016, 10:36 AM   #37
Digital_Islandboy
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Re: Quabbin & MWRA Water & Sewer

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Originally Posted by Arlington View Post
And not after midnight particularly if you're a group mostly from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Initial interpretations were that they were charmingly/infuriatingly ignorant of how the State Police might take seriously the wrong kind of visits to our water supply. Later FOIA requests said it might actually have been a criminal/pre-terrorist scouting trip.

The Quabbin is also so vast (412 Billion gallons) that if you did plan to contaminate it, it'd take 412 gallons to get to a part per billion, and a whole tanker truck (call it 4,000 to 12,000 gals) only gets you 10 to 30 parts per Billion.
Unfort. not if one focuses on an inflow pipe/intake zone. One doesn't need the whole lake.

Last edited by Digital_Islandboy; 09-28-2016 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 09-28-2016, 10:54 AM   #38
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Re: Quabbin & MWRA Water & Sewer

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Originally Posted by Arlington View Post
^ I'd start with getting Cambride to give up its reservoir next to 128 and use that for restoration projects. As drinking water, Cambridge water tastes bad--kinda unique among the inside-128 cities--but would be fine for percolating into the ground or restoring a wetland.

I don't get why Cambridge thinks it's a good idea to drink highway runoff.
Not likely. If Cambridge stops using it as a Reservoir, we lose-it, along with Payson Park in Belmont so we are told. The lake off Route 128 acts as additional backup for Fresh Pond.

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3818...7i13312!8i6656

Who knows but it might jeopardize Cambridge's development that they jointly are invested into with Waltham on the opposite side of the Highway (the old Polaroid property and shopping mall where Market Basket is.)

I wanted to check before I spoke but it seems the mood in Cambridge still is that MWRA water is too costly. I just received the email about the new city manager being selected and in there is verbiage to scare the citizens again that Cambridge might have to supplement with MWRA so look out for higher costs for city budget.

Update from City Councillor Jan Devereux: Quote: "I chaired a committee hearing last week to discuss our response to the drought and have posted a recap on my blog < http://jandevereux.com/2016/09/30/ca...mes-at-a-cost/ >. It's raining today, but we are still in a severe drought and will have to go on MWRA water soon, which could cost us almost $11M more than budgeted. The hearing was recorded and you can watch it online < http://cambridgema.iqm2.com/Citizens...&Format=Agenda > if you want more detail."
(End Quote)

Cantabrigians likely won't stomach a full switch to MWRA any time soon it is part of this city's culture. It is marketed as a tax increase to use MWRA. MWRA doesn't win friends in Cambridge when city officials say MWRA costs double what native Cambridge water costs.

Last edited by Digital_Islandboy; 10-02-2016 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 10-03-2016, 10:04 AM   #39
Arlington
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Re: Quabbin & MWRA Water & Sewer

Can anyone explain in more detail how cities pay for Quabbin water?

In Medford, as I understand it, the MWRA presents the city for a bill for all water* and then it is up to the city to decide how to allocate the costs through a municipal billing system.

*First, what's the definition of "all water" is it:
- water delivered to the "city gate" (which would mean each MWRA municipality "eats" distribution losses within the city)
- Water delivered to city gate less estimated distribution losses?
- Water metered to customers?

The stupid thing in Medford is that "municipal" uses (fire, schools, etc) are not metered or even estimated, but are rather just passed along in higher metered rates for everyone on a meter. The city estimates what its bill from the MWRA for 100% of water will be, and then figures out how to get everyone-but-the-city to pay for this overall bill.

Clearly, we're not going to meter fire usage, but it also means that municipal buildings have no incentive to cure their water hog habits.

But every year, metered users respond to higher per-gallon water rates by conserving (stop watering lawns, install low flush toilets etc). But as the number of gallons used by metered usage falls, the "tax base" of gallons falls too (the city imposes its "unconserved" usage on fewer and fewer gallons of metered usage).

(Worse, they city uses the surplus in its water account to improve its bond rating)

Better would be for the municipality to charge itself (and separately appropriate) for the water it uses, and give itself a price incentive to conserve

How do other municipalities do it?
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Last edited by Arlington; 10-03-2016 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 10-03-2016, 10:13 AM   #40
F-Line to Dudley
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Re: Quabbin & MWRA Water & Sewer

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Originally Posted by Digital_Islandboy View Post
Not likely. If Cambridge stops using it as a Reservoir, we lose-it, along with Payson Park in Belmont so we are told. The lake off Route 128 acts as additional backup for Fresh Pond.

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3818...7i13312!8i6656

Who knows but it might jeopardize Cambridge's development that they jointly are invested into with Waltham on the opposite side of the Highway (the old Polaroid property and shopping mall where Market Basket is.)

I wanted to check before I spoke but it seems the mood in Cambridge still is that MWRA water is too costly. I just received the email about the new city manager being selected and in there is verbiage to scare the citizens again that Cambridge might have to supplement with MWRA so look out for higher costs for city budget.

Update from City Councillor Jan Devereux: Quote: "I chaired a committee hearing last week to discuss our response to the drought and have posted a recap on my blog < http://jandevereux.com/2016/09/30/ca...mes-at-a-cost/ >. It's raining today, but we are still in a severe drought and will have to go on MWRA water soon, which could cost us almost $11M more than budgeted. The hearing was recorded and you can watch it online < http://cambridgema.iqm2.com/Citizens...&Format=Agenda > if you want more detail."
(End Quote)

Cantabrigians likely won't stomach a full switch to MWRA any time soon it is part of this city's culture. It is marketed as a tax increase to use MWRA. MWRA doesn't win friends in Cambridge when city officials say MWRA costs double what native Cambridge water costs.
All I know is thank heavens I was living in the People's Republic during that big Wachusett pipe burst event that had everybody boiling their water for several days 6 or 7 years ago. I got to take showers and drink tap from my Brita filter like a normal person while there was a bottled water shortage everywhere else inside 128, angry mobs forming outside Dunkies because of the hourly coffee quotas for boiling water, and my coworkers at Channel Center getting increasingly surly by the hour with each additional layer of deodorant they had to smear over their increasingly disheveled appearance. Fresh Pond's doing the job, they have that modern taxpayer-paid treatment facility built in the last 15 years, and they have hookup to backup supplies including borrowing from MWRA for the drought. Why would Cambridge ever willingly change their permanent supply for joining the crowd's sake? That makes very little sense, especially for the sunk cost of taking that new treatment plant offline right when its construction cost is being paid down.


I never minded the taste, either. It's freshwater populated by native fauna and minerals, because it's been fenced-off from being messed with by human hands since the post-Civil War era. That's what tap water is supposed to taste like from an unspoiled Eastern MA waterway. We just don't have any other non- human-shaped or non- invasive ecology reservoirs to compare it to.
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