Neither ice nor snow stop Emergency Services team

Learn what it takes to find and stop water from flowing when a water main breaks in frozen temperatures.

December 5, 2019 | By: Jose Salas
Denver Water employee is chiseling through ice to expose a shut-off valve cover. Safety cones sit around him.
Keegan May, utility tech at Denver Water, chisels through inches of ice to access a water shut-off valve during a water main break. Photo credit: Denver Water.

 

Responding to breaks in underground water delivery pipes is a job year-round, but it can be more difficult in winter — when ice and snow cover the ground and critical components of Denver Water’s delivery system.

Members of Denver Water’s Emergency Services team, like Keegan May in this photo, are the utility’s first responders. They help shut off the water so crews can start their work to repair pipe breaks. (Read, “Breaking point: Temperature swings tough on water pipes,” to learn more about how the ups and downs of winter weather in Colorado impact water mains across Denver.)

But turning off the water flowing through underground pipes is much more complex than shutting off the water in a house.

This video shows May, a utility tech at Denver Water, working through inches of ice created by below-freezing temperatures to find a shut-off valve.

On this cold, winter day, once the cover was located, Denver Water’s crew chiseled through the ice. Then they used a mallet to loosen the cover. Only then could they access the underground shut-off valve to stop the flow of water and begin to make repairs.

It takes amazing, dedicated people and a lot of hard work to deliver high-quality, clean and reliable drinking water 24/7/365.

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