Update August 22, 2019 - The North Pressure Zone water pressure project is near completion. The construction of the three booster stations, three pressure valves and all other necessary equipment has been completed. The system was started up about two and a half months ago and the pressure was increased to approximately 10 psi. But with any new system such as this, there are many initial issues that could occur as the system gets up to full operation and increased pressure. We experienced many water main breaks that were expected each time the pressure was increased. This is normal as the weak points in the system create water main breaks. About 6 weeks ago, a problem arose with the new SCADA system that was installed with the new booster stations. SCADA is the monitoring system used for the communications between the water towers, booster stations, and the water plant. We are now using cellular communication instead of antennas. We had to bring the system back to the original pressure for about 2 weeks to get the monitoring system repaired. The booster stations were then started back up and have been operating for the past five weeks. We are slowly bringing the pressure up to the 20 psi increase we were planning to reach. So far, we have increased the pressure about 18 psi. We will continue to increase the pressure very slowly over the next few weeks. We will most likely continue experiencing some water main breaks and Suez will continue to make the repairs. Any increase such as this has to be done slowly to prevent any major disruptions to the piping distribution system. If the booster system should ever go down again in the future, the water pressure in the system will reduce back down to the approximately 40 psi pressure that it was prior to installing the new booster pumps. So please be patient as this is a slow process to reach the desired pressure.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING THE WATER PRESSURE PROJECT
Residential Water Services
The intention of the North I-70 Water Pressure Project is to increase the pressure in the City’s water system, north of I-70, by approximately 20 psi to reach a system pressure of approximately 60 psi. The areas affected have, in some cases, significantly lower pressures than many other areas of the City. This will increase the ability to utilize the available flow of water in the systems more uniformly throughout the City.
The plumbing of a household located in this area should be able to withstand the increase to 60 psi, as that falls well within the standard specifications for maximum working pressure of household plumbing and fixtures. There are areas of the City with water pressures much higher with no effect to household plumbing.
Currently, the system’s water pressure has been increased by 16 psi, with the final increases to be slowly introduced until it’s final pressure is achieved; therefore, the final few psi should not create issues that were not previously identified.
A few key points to consider include:
- This pressure increase project only affects the water system north of I-70
- From this point forward, the pressure will incrementally increase by 1 psi each time until the final pressure is reached.
- Most private water service lines (from the water meter to the house) are made of Copper or PVC. Type K Copper is the type typically used for residential water service lines. The maximum working pressure for both types of 1 inch pipe is over 400 psi. If a water service line develops a leak, it is most commonly caused by a defective joint connection.
- Any household plumbing should be able to withstand the City’s pressure increase of 20 psi, PROVIDED, it was properly installed and the correct materials were used at the time of installation.
- If a home’s water service line is not currently leaking, a plumbing inspection is unlikely to prevent any leaks that could occur with the additional pressure increase.
- Almost all homes north of I-70 are less than 40 years old. The Copper and PVC pipes should have a lifespan of at least 70 to 100 years.
- A pressure reducing valve at a residential water service line should not be necessary as the increased pressure will be brought to a normal range rather than the current low range. Installation of a reducing valve would defeat the purpose of the additional residential pressure increase.
- In the event that a resident has installed their own residential booster pump to increase the pressure, they would need to decrease the setting on the pump as the system is increased. If the 20 psi increase is enough, then theirs can be turned off or removed. Otherwise, it can just be adjusted lower.
The City has experienced some water main breaks within the system during this project. Those main breaks are related to corrosion of the water pipe due to corrosive soil conditions in certain areas. The improvements to the water system were a planned part of this overall project.