Oct 01, 2015

Fright Night

Elisabeth Lisican

The season of Halloween spotlights all things scary, and if you thought there were no parallels between goblins and our industry, consider for a moment your biggest water-related nightmare. 

My newest one is undoubtedly the result of a news item that recently came across my desk titled, "A Tap Full of Worms." According to a press release from solution provider Bluewater, residents in the Aksaray region of central Turkey have reported worms and tadpoles coming out of their taps. The suspected culprit is two-decade-old pipe supplying water to the province that is now wearing out.

This horrifying scenario has taken place in the U.S., too, the release pointed out. Last July, brown and red worms were found in the tap water of a small Texas town. The invasion was blamed on a power outage and broken equipment. Similarly, in 2013, Oklahoma residents experienced red "blood worms" in their drinking water. 

Sounds like the stuff of horror films, if you ask me.

Imagine all the scary things that could happen if our industry was not around to thwart them. In "Clog-Free Communities," for instance, the author noted the disturbing consequences of clogged pumps: "If management misses a clog alarm, the flow can rise up the well and out of the manhole. The result is a public health issue, as sewage may contain everything from fecal matter and urine to blood and viruses. Besides the added labor costs, wear caused by chronic clogging can lead to premature pump failure and an unplanned capital expense. If the station is unable to keep up with demand, the cascading impact on nearby stations can turn into a wastewater nightmare."

Likewise, the recent headlines marking the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina reminded us that we never know when disaster lurks around the corner. It also taught us about the important role pumps play as essential tools in removing unwanted water quickly and efficiently. Because pumps are so important, it is necessary to choose wisely when selecting or optimizing a pump for any application—emergency or not. Our industry has worked hard to develop a plentiful pump toolbox, with an array of options within each pump family to meet site-specific needs. The aftermath of hurricanes and superstorms is an opportunity to make pumping systems more efficient—if funding is available for upgrades. It just requires a little homework and due diligence; some best practices for proper pump selection are highlighted in "Pump Considerations for Operators."

Those who maintain our nation’s water and wastewater systems have no shortage of forces to reckon with. But this was not meant to be a scare piece. In the season of things that go bump in the night—and all year round—W&WD is here with the information you need to ensure reliable, optimized systems. Here’s to a water-safe and nightmare-free Halloween. 

About the author

Elisabeth Lisican is managing editor of Water & Wastes Digest. Lisican can be reached at [email protected] or 847.391.1012.

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