Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Special Water Post 1/11/11: Water Conservation Measures Still in Effect

Recently the Cavendish Municipal Water System experienced a situation where demand for water outstretched our capability. There was an array of circumstances which, when they occurred simultaneously, caused the water level in the storage tanks to be lowered to a point where, system wide, pressure was significantly reduced and places at the highest elevations may have experienced a period of no water flow.

Some of the contributing circumstances included:
• Extremely high consumer demand (holidays, tourism, and below freezing temperatures)
• Two system leaks which developed maintenance repairs on the filtration equipment, a telemetry fault
• The need to take the system off-line to back wash the filters.

Significant measures have been implemented to remedy the situation and to ensure that the situation does not reoccur. The two found leaks have been repaired, several other remedial activities are underway and the storage tank levels are being restored to their normal levels. However, they are not back to full capacity and we are heading into a holiday weekend.

Although the immediate crisis is passed, users are asked to use water conservatively so that the refilling of the water tanks takes place as quickly as possible. The tank refilling is a very gradual process, so a water conservation request remains in effect wherein users are requested to use water wisely and conservatively. Normal household activities, which use water for washing and cleaning, are not restricted, but common-sense measures are requested to avoid wasting water are urged.

Some consumers run water to avoid frozen pipes during periods of very cold weather. This is a waste of water. There are a variety of other methods, which can be used to avoid freezing of pipes, including:
• Insulate water pipes, especially pipes that are likely to freeze. Foam tubes, readily available at area hardware stores, can be fitted around each pipe.
• In areas that are especially prone to freezing pipes, wrap the pipes with electric heating tape, also available at local home and hardware stores.
• Extra insulation should be placed around the section of piping at the point where the water supply enters the home, as these pipes tend to freeze at a much faster rate.
• The opening of closed and cold plumbing areas to warm air (e.g. keeping the cabinet doors open under the kitchen sink)
• Add insulation to poorly insulated areas.

The addition of pipe and general insulation has long-term paybacks, which can save on energy costs as well as avoidance of pipe freezing. Running water, besides being contrary to reasonable conservation of an important resource, is a very expensive way to deal with problem pipes.

Some other ways to conserve water include:
• Check faucets, pipes and toilets for leaks
• Don’t use the toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket. E.g. Flushing a used tissue only can use 5-7 gallons
• Take shorter showers.
• Turn off the water after you wet your toothbrush and use a glass of water for rinsing.
• If you use a traditional razor, fill the sink with a few inches of warm water and rinse as needed.
• Use dishwasher and clothes washer for only full loads
• Avoid the permanent press cycle on washing machines as this uses an added 5 gallons of water for the extra rinse.
• For partial loads in the washing machine, adjust water levels to match the size of the load.
• Minimize use of kitchen sink garbage disposal units.
• If washing dishes by hand, don’t leave the water running for rinsing.
• Don’t run the faucet while cleaning vegetables. Instead clean in a pan of water.
• Keep water in the frig to keep it cool instead of running water until it reaches the desired temperature.

For more information, please contact Richard Svec, Town Manager at 226-7291 or Dave Duquette, Chief Water System Operator at 226-7743 at the Town of Cavendish Municipal Water System, 37 High Street, P.O. Box 126, Cavendish, Vermont 05142-0126.

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