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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink

Between 6,000 and 8,000 people in Scranton (Pennsylvania) have been without water since Thursday, as a 36 inch water main supplying a portion of the city (and some surrounding areas) failed.  The local water company has been working around the clock to get the leak fixed, and it appears that a repair was made earlier today.  Water service is slowly being restored, but consumers are being asked to boil all water before using it.

A few thoughts:

  • The line in question was installed on or about 1920 and was designed to last up to 130 years.  I read a report that this same line may have failed once before, in the 1950's.
  • NEPA is notorious for wild swings in weather.  We can go from 60 degrees to -10 degrees in the winter.  
  • The topography in Scranton is best described as "challenging", as the city basically sits on two sides a of a valley.
  • The area's history of mine subsidence can cause havoc for underground lines.
  • Water supply systems, like any and every form of public infrastructure, wear over time. 
  • Unlike a bridge or a road surface, it's not easy to check on the viability of underground water supply lines.
  • This failure isn't the fault of the Mayor, the water company, the NSA, the Illuminati or fluoridation.  Stuff breaks, period.
  • Even with a failure every now and then, we are truly blessed with wonderfully efficient water and sanitation systems in this country.  Spend a week in a hell-hole like Egypt and you will know what I mean.

Bottom line?  This whole event has been horribly inconvenient for many, many people, but in the end "stuff" just happens.  The outrage needs to be saved for things that we should all be outraged about, such as A-Rod and/or NSA spying.  


zorcong said...

10-4 on that.

Yet, a local talk show host was calling it a disaster and wondering aloud about the need for a National Guard deployment.
Markie in Parsons

Stephen Albert said...

And what would the National Guard do? Make sure that the lines to the water tankers were orderly? Ensure that porta-potty decorum was enforced at local bars?

Seriously, we need to treat adults like adults. I'm sure that no one died during this event. There was no massive loss of property values. The very fabric of society was not, in fact, torn.

Anyway, thanks for the comment Mark.