Getting down & dirty on a water valve removal

#topekatweetalong this week got rid of a leaky valve and replaced it with some choice PVC pipe. It was real dirty.


  1. So the big news about this tweet-a-long: I actually got to get my hands dirty. Well, actually, most of me got dirty. When the walls are made of mud....(Disclaimer: I had a safety briefing so I could do this)
  2. But it was so I could get you views like this:
  3. Wednesday I was out with five guys from the Water Department: Paul Ziegler, Mondo Nottestad, Phil Savoy, Evan Watson and Ryan Woolaway.
  4. You might know Woolaway as @cityoftopeka's second ghost writer. He posts all the water main break info. Story from @timhrenchir .
  5. Watson was the funny guy. Woolaway said he's good for keeping things light. Absolutely true. About everything out of his mouth was hilarious:
  6. The job Wednesday was to remove a leaky valve. Valves control how much water goes through a pipe and serve as the turn on/turn off point. This line, right on the outskirts of Montara (7440 S.W. Morrill), wasn't used very heavily. So we made the decision to remove the valve and replace it with PVC pipe (the most sturdy material), saving the time and materials it would take to repair it. It's called straightlining.
  7. Here's a look at the before and after:
  8. But it takes a lot of work to get to that point. First they've got to mark/ID the line.
  9. Then they've got to use the backhoe to dig the hole. This one was 7+ feet deep, and, let me tell you, digging a safe hole is definitely an art form.
  10. Then they've got to shut off the water surrounding the pipes, so the hole doesn't get filled back up with water. This one only affected one business, A1 Plumbing. They were without water for about 3 hours.
  11. Telling people they won't have water is tricky business. Some people are understanding, they said, others get pretty angry. Regardless, though, City Water employees try to fix the break ASAP, because they know it's an inconvience. Here's more on that from the crew: