You may have noticed a convoy of equipment at the corner of Squirrel and Walton in the middle of September. That is because the Water and Sewer Division of the DPW was embarking on a week long process to remove and replace a 16” PRV (Pressure Reducing Valve). The PRV was installed here in 1991, making it 30 years old. This is not a traditional valve that opens and closes when we choose, it automatically adjusts the pressure coming from the Great Lakes Water Authority transmission main. This makes it a very important device for flow and pressure control in the middle of the City, which is one of the largest districts of consumption. Constant leaks and having to rebuild the seals of the valve more frequently than normal drove our decision to replace it.
From re-directing water around the pit, cutting the bolts, removing the guts of the valves, and removing the body, it was a tremendous undertaking. Once the valves were gutted and disconnected, the old equipment was removed, which was 8’ long and weighed over 4,000 lbs.! Utilizing many straps and chains, we were able to remove using the power of our backhoe.
With an engineers’ rough estimate around $80K to complete this work through a contractor, I decided to run it by the team to see if they were up for the challenge. The talent and drive that the team had to complete this goal was awesome to see. There is not many other Cities or DPW’s around that would’ve taken on this challenge. We ended up having the new valve installed and back up and operating within a week!
Doing the job in house ended up costing the City around $30K, saving at least half the cost should we have hired the job out! It ends up being a WIN-WIN-WIN for everyone involved. WIN for morale of the workers, being proud for accomplishing such a large job. WIN for the City, saving a lot of money for the water and sewer fund. And finally a WIN for the residents and businesses, who can rely on a well-maintained water system!
Manager of Public Utilities