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PIERRE, S.D. – More than 100 miles of city water main are buried throughout Pierre; starting today, valves on all 100 miles are getting tested.
The City of Pierre has hired a contractor to exercise all of the city’s water main valves, as well as all of the city’s 550 fire hydrant valves. Once all of the main and hydrant valves have been tested, the City will have a comprehensive map of the underground infrastructure, as well as an inventory of the water system valves.
Brad Palmer, City Utility Director, says that some of the City’s water main dates back more than 100 years.
“Throughout the years, maps have been kept and updated,” said Brad Palmer, City Utility Director. “However, modern GIS mapping technology provides more accurate information which leads to much more efficient operations.”
Palmer says that the process will help the city identify how many shut-off valves need replacing, how many have been paved over at some point, and which ones haven’t been utilized in recent years. Having accurate equipment information allows the city to build a better maintenance schedule, and better respond to emergencies.
“Detailed information allows us geographically isolate issues as they arise. That means fewer customers are impacted by water main work and water main breaks, and it expedites our repair time,” said Palmer.
Testing of the water main and hydrants includes running water through portions of the main that are seldom utilized. That can cause water discoloration. The water is safe to drink and will return to normal color.
The contractors will migrate through different regions of the community during the exercise process and expect to have the full exercise complete within three months.