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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Mismanagement Consequences Created by Administrators and Elected Officials

What You Need To Know About
Lead Poisoning - Flint Edition
by Bob McDowell, Contributing Author: Recently in the news their have been banner headlines about ‘lead contamination’ in the water distributed by the city of Flint, Michigan. A story on January 23 was headlined "Flint mayor (Karen Weaver, D): Lead fix could top $1.5 billion". Any knowledgeable engineer would know that the problems they have had are the predictable result of failure on the part of those responsible to exercise long accepted standard maintenance and operating practices. The AP story by Tammy Webber identified that the Flint city managers had decided in 2014 to quit buying water from Detroit and to pump water from the Flint River. Because of pollutant chemicals in that water, one would expect to need for added anti corrosion chemicals along with the usual sanitation chemicals.

An earlier news story included a picture of water pipe ends with substantial build-up of deposits inside the pipe. This could probably have been prevented by a proper chemical treatment program. But, it appears that the funds to be used for water purification were either diverted to other, politically important uses, or missing because reduced tax revenues due to the departure of high paying manufacturing.

One of the main complaints of citizens detailed on TV news was the result of lead contamination. As implied in that story, the lead contamination was most likely the result of leaching of lead from the water line joint seals by the new polluting being used. By explanation, cast iron lines which were installed many years ago, often before WW II, were connected by ‘bell and spigot’ slip joints that were sealed with lead poured into the joint. After the war, the pipe used was called ‘ductile iron’ or were steel and the joint seals were a rubber gasket which was much more seal effective and allowed for some expansion in the pipe with temperature changes whereas such expansion movement could crack the lead seals and thus allowing leaks.

Another source of lead contamination reported was using lead pipe for the ‘service lines’ connecting the buildings to the main distribution lines. That is a first in my experience. Lead pipe was previously used for sewer lines in the buildings, but not for water lines. In recent decades, even sewer lines have been replaced with the PVC.

Still later plastic, such as PVC or PE pipe, with the same bell and spigot connections with rubber seals came into common usage. These tend to expand and contract less and offer more flexibility to move with ground shifts. They also have the ability to tolerate freezing because of that same feature. Also, with the plastic there is no tendency to find rust in the water from the pipe as with iron or steel.

Actually the situation in Flint is a more pronounced example of what is, or could be, going on in many cities where normally accepted maintenance procedures are being neglected or postponed. Even in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a city much younger than Flint, Michigan, there have been a large number of line breaks reported which were blamed on soil shifting due to temperature changes.

All this is a glaring example of the usual tendency of officials of government at all levels, from schools to the White House, to neglect the ongoing maintenance necessary to keep facilities usable for the original purpose. Then when those facilities become overly expensive to restore, they resort to bond issue financing, at great added expense, to restore or replace the facility. Their attitude seems to be ‘let the populace (tax payers) pay not only the cost of repairs but the added expense of the interest and fees embedded in secured bonds.

Then there is that addition cost to the taxpayers created by exorbitant salaries and expense accounts of elected officials and hired administrators. Decisions by past and present officials and administrators affect both present and future costs as well as life risks to human lives in their communities.
Robert "Bob" McDowell, Jr. is a retired Professional Engineer and Geologist with over 50 years experience in creating drilling prospects, supervising drilling, well completion, production operation, and pipeline design for oil and gas including repair of problem wells. McDowell is a conservative activist and member of the Oklahoma Republican Assembly. He Contributes opinion and commentary articles to the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Bob McDowell, Mismanagement Consequences, administrators, elected officials Flint, Michigan, Tulsa, Oklahoma To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 6:15 PM - Post Link


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