The Clear Take on Water and Wastewater Today

We’re Ready for the Big Chill

Winters in the Midwest can be harsh. Preparing your water and wastewater plant can minimize the problems you may face – and the costs of repairs. Here are some of the standard procedures we put in place to ensure safe, secure and clean water for all our communities. Are you ready for the Big Chill?

  • Check for fire hydrants that do not drain properly. Once you have identified problem hydrants, pump them down at least 3’ below ground level. You will want to check these problem hydrants a couple of days after pumping them down to see if water is leaking by the main seat and filling the barrel of the fire hydrant back up.
  • Locate valves, raise if needed and exercise if possible, to ensure they work properly when needed.
  • Examine and weatherproof booster stations. Check heaters, set thermostats, seal holes in building or pit walls and check that drains and sump pumps are working properly.
  • Check any areas in which you may use heat tape. If the heat tape is 3-4 years old you may want to consider replacing that heat tape.
  • Does your community have park restrooms or water fountains that need to be drained or winterized?
  • A water tower is one of any community’s biggest assets. We can vary the water level in the tank on a daily basis to keep from having major freezing problems.
  • Check insulation and weather-stripping on all facilities in order to reduce the cost of heating those spaces.
  • Inspect facilities for small openings where mice and other small animals could find their way into the facility.
  • Check pits for leaks, insulators, and conduct an overall inspection.
  • Check pump houses to make sure there is an adequate heater with a thermostat.
  • Make sure security and freeze alarms are all operational.
  • Flush, grease and check hydrants to be sure they are draining properly.
  • If there is a vertical turbine pump in the pump house, there will be a small amount of water trickling out of the stuffing box, which is normal. Make sure the water has proper drainage away from the pump house.
  • For wells and pumps on pit-less adapters, check wells are covered properly and protected against snow, hail and ice getting in, yet allowing them to be vented to atmosphere.
  • Make sure mud pumps used for dewatering leaks are serviced and ready.
  • The leading causes of storage tank freeze-ups are a lack of circulation and operator awareness. Ice formation occurs when water sits in a tank long enough to have heat transfer through the tank wall lowering the temperature to freezing. Smaller tanks are more susceptible to freezing as their surface area to volume ratio is lower.
  • Make sure any water towers or ground storage tanks have their sensing lines properly insulated or heat-taped to prevent false readings and to allow the water to be turned.
  • Insulate fill pipes and use heat tape where practical. Without adequate circulation, the fill pipe will freeze before the tank due to its high heat transfer rate.
  • Install temperature alarms on the fill pipe and riser.
  • Most importantly, be sure that the control system provides a continuous reading of tank levels. Paying close attention to this data helps us to identify circulation concerns.