When you enter the subterranean maze of the water distribution and sewer collection systems, you are dealing with a hidden system of pipes and tiles that carry finished water to the customer and used water away.
This system intertwines with other underground utility systems - electric, gas, telephone, cable TV and fiber optic cables.
A few parts of the system are visible. Water towers and fire hydrants are easily noticed. Manhole lids and water valves are there for those that pay attention, but most of the system is buried.
If your grandfather or great-grandfather installed water or sewer lines, he may have installed some of Galion's lines. Many of our water lines are 50 to 60 years old. Many of our sewer lines are older.
Combining the water system and the storm and sanitary sewer system, the 12-man maintenance crew maintains more than 250 miles of underground pipes - about 1,320,000 feet of pipe. If you add 2,600 catch basins (each one is cleaned each year), 500 plus fire hydrants (each of which is flushed each year) and another 500 manholes, drinking fountains in the parks, 500 plus utility locates a year, assisting with the swimming pool operation and reservoir maintenance, and the almost 700 logged work orders a year generated by customer requests or complaints, these guys are busy.
Our maintenance crews replace small, old lines on an annual basis. Most of these replacements are driven by complaints received by customers.
When prioritizing line replacements we look at customer complaints but also consider the benefit to the system as a whole. If there is a fire flow benefit or an increase in circulation throughout a portion of the distribution system, that replacement receives a higher priority.
Our line replacement dollars are few and our crew's time is very valuable - we do what we can schedule and what we can afford.
Sanitation & Sewage Lines
On the sanitary sewer side, our main concerns are system backups and inflow. Perhaps our biggest challenge is the removal of inflow to our system. Inflow is the introduction of clean water to the sanitary sewer system through a direct connection. Most often these connection are footer tiles that either directly connect to the sanitary, or are pumped to the sanitary.