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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Entry for January 20, 2008

Watermains break for a variety of reasons, and sometimes watermains break for no apparent reason at all. When the taps go dry and the toilets do not flush, customers rarely care why a watermain broke, they just want it fixed, and they want it fixed fast.

Public utility workers often brave danger and extreme discomfort in order to keep potable water flowing to every household. They take their jobs seriously, not only to provide for our comfort and convenience, but also because Fire Departments are not very effective fighting fires when there is no water. Utility repair crews respond at all hours of any day, including weekends and holidays. If a watermain broke on Christmas Eve, crewmembers would leave their families to go dig deep underground in order to make the needed repairs. It is muddy, backbreaking, physical work. Even well trained crews with good equipment risk injury and death from a number of hazards including burial during a cave-in of the trench.

While the highly paid department heads and division managers of the utility companies sleep, these crews are on standby. During after-hour emergencies these crews take care of business, and the bosses rarely know about it until they read the summary reports over their morning coffee.

The next time the air temperature is far below zero and you see a crew staging equipment to repair a watermain, give them a good thought and a friendly wave.



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