According to the utility officials of one American municipality, the necessary repairs and updates on the local water pump have been completed, yet residents are still boiling their water. This has led to many questions and concerns being posed to those in charge.
Reports were sent to customers, and the media broke the story, including statements from representatives of the municipality water supply. According to those statements, the water cannot be deemed safe, nor can the boil notice be lifted until proper testing has been completed by the state agency.
Of course, boiled water is better than no water, which is what those same residents were contending with when the problems first arose. A failure at the main pump house caused the water supplies to slow to a trickle and then die off completely. The entire system had to be drained in order for repairs to be completed, which meant that everyone was left without water all together.
Any mechanical system is going to fail at some point, or have an issue that will affect the performance. Having sensors installed throughout the system may help prevent catastrophic issues, though. With properly installed sensors, system maintenance can be conducted based on system performance and a proactive approach can be taken rather than a reactive one. That is to say that this problem could have been noted and addressed before the pump went into a complete failure mode.
In this case it appears that a safety was not working properly. Why would the pump over- pressurize and blow out? Why would the pump’s housing- or an associated valve fail? As a general rule, the answer to these questions is typically a lack of maintenance. Of course, it isn’t always that the technicians and operators were failing to do their job, but rather that they didn’t have the information that they needed to note existing issues. That information comes from properly installed and operating sensors.