This division of the Water Resources Department is responsible for the maintenance of the water and reclaimed water distribution systems including the transmission lines that bring water into the city. Currently, this division performs over 40,000 work functions annually.
The mission of the Water Systems Maintenance Division is to promote the health, safety and welfare of the public served by the city of St. Petersburg's public drinking water system and the city's reclaimed water system and to effectively maintain the integrity of the potable and reclaimed water distribution systems through effective utilization of employees, equipment and material.
Some tasks performed include: (1) a water and reclaimed distribution flushing program; we currently flush all targeted areas annually; (2) a water main replacement program in which we replace approximately 9 miles of water pipe annually; and (3) a meter replacement program in which we replace over 6,000 meters annually.
Listed below is a breakdown of all tasks performed by the Water Systems Maintenance Division along with ideas on how to better maintain your private plumbing system.
Water quality field operations
Cross connection control
Meter maintenance: 93,038 meters
Transmission main maintenance and surveillance
Valve & hydrant maintenance and repair: 30,331 valves & 6,493 hydrants
New main installation
Miles of water mains: 1,531
Reclaimed Water System
The City's innovative system provides more than 36.9 million gallons per day to over 10,000 customers primarily for lawn irrigation.
Miles of reclaimed water pipe lines: 283
Fire hydrants: 310
Reclaimed water facilities: 4
FLUSHING HOUSEHOLD PIPES
Accumulation of organic material in your plumbing may contribute to odor and taste concerns. Organic material can be eliminated by flushing your water pipes.
- When flushing household plumbing use only cold water. Hot water is used when flushing hot water heaters.
- Flush in a sequential manner by flushing the cold water bathtub faucet first and then work through all other faucets in the house (from the largest pipe to the smallest pipe). In working through the sequence, toilets should be the last item flushed since toilets tanks typically have the smallest plumbing lines in the house supplying them.
- Remove aerators from the ends of the indoor faucets and run faucets wide-open for 3 to 5 minutes. Removing the aerators before flushing will prevent anything dislodged from accumulating on the screens.
- Flush the toilets two or three times each while the faucets are running. This generates a large flow of water through the pipes to help dislodge any build-up of organic material that is causing the taste and odor problem.
- After 3 to 5 minutes of flushing, turn off the water faucets. Clean the aerators before reinstalling.
All seasonal residents, schools, and businesses open seasonally are encouraged to flush their private plumbing prior to drinking water if they have been away from their residence, school or business for an extended period of time. Water sitting in pipes for prolonged periods may become unsafe for human consumption.
DISINFECTING A DRAIN
An odor of rotten eggs, sometimes described as a sewage smell, is usually caused by gases forming in household drains. These gases are formed by bacteria which live on food, soap, hair, and other organic matter which may accumulate in the drain. Since these gases are heavier than air, they remain in the drain until the water is turned on. As the water runs down the drain, the gases are expelled up the drain into the air around the sink. It is not surprising that this odor is often mistakenly associated with the water because it is observed only when the water is turned on. To eliminate this problem, the bacteria in the drain must be killed. CAUTION: Do not mix any drain cleaners or detergents with bleach; certain combinations can create toxic fumes and may be combustible.
•Run the cold water about 15 seconds into the drain to be disinfected. Turn the water off.
•Pour approximately one to two cups of liquid chlorine bleach (laundry bleach) down the drain. Pour the bleach slowly around the edges so that it runs down the sides of the drain. CAUTION: Bleach may cause eye damage, skin irritation, and may damage clothing. Take proper precautions.
•If the odor comes from a sink with a garbage disposal, turn the disposal on for a few seconds while the bleach is being poured to help disperse the bleach around the inside of the disposal. CAUTION: Bleach may cause eye damage, skin irritation, and may damage clothing. Take special care to avoid splashing especially while the disposal is running.
•Allow the bleach to remain undisturbed in the drain for 10 minutes. CAUTION: Prolonged contact with metals may cause pitting and/or discoloration.
•After 10 minutes, run the hot water into the drain for a minute or two to flush out the bleach. If the garbage disposal has been disinfected, thoroughly flush it.
•Repeat this procedure if the odor returns.
FLUSHING A WATER HEATER
Water heaters should be flushed at least once a year to control the build-up of mineral deposits naturally present in water. This will help the water heater operate more efficiently and may extend the life of the heater. The water heater will need to be flushed if the hot water appears yellow or brownish in color indicating an accumulation of rust or if you find sand-like mineral sediment in the hot water.
•Do not shut off the gas or the water supply to the heater.
•Attach a garden hose to the draincock located at the bottom of the heater. The draincock usually looks like a regular hose bib (garden faucet) or a round dial with a threaded hole in the middle.
•Extend the garden hose to a place where the water can safely exit the heater (e.g. drain, driveway, etc.)
•Open the draincock to allow the water to exit the heater. CAUTION: Water may be hot and under normal household water pressure. PLEASE NOTE: If the draincock is made of plastic and the heater is several years old, it may be difficult to open and may break easily if forced.
•After five minutes, fill a bucket with the still flushing water.
•Allow the water in the bucket to stand undisturbed for a minute and see if the water is clear or if any sand-like particles settle to the bottom. If the water is clear and no sand-like particles are observed proceed to the next step. If the water is discolored or sand-like particles are observed, repeat the previous two steps until the flush water is completely clear and free of sediment.
•Close the draincock and remove the garden hose.
If you do not feel comfortable performing these maintenance procedures yourself, hire a licensed professional plumber.
The city of St. Petersburg Water Resources Department is proud to provide its citizens and water customers with quality drinking water. The city provides treatment at our Cosme Water Treatment Plant which includes aeration, lime softening (or other processes for corrosion control, depending on source water blend), disinfection by chloramination, and filtration (Fluoride is added). This water meets or exceeds all drinking water standards. Additional private water treatment is not necessary. However, if you decide to purchase any additional water treatment system for your home, the Water Resources Department reminds you to carefully follow manufacturer's instructions regarding proper maintenance and filter replacement to insure that the system does not contaminant your water supply.
Some people may be more vulnerable than the general population to contaminants in drinking water. Immuno-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections.
These people should seek advice from their health care providers regarding drinking water and/or additional private water treatment requirements. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the Environmental Protection Agency's Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791 or visit their website at www.epa.gov/safewater.
If you have questions relating to St. Petersburg's potable water you may contact: Water Quality Info Line 727-551-3474, Water Resources Communication Center 727-893-7261, the Cosme Water Treatment Plant 813-920-5151 or email WaterDept@stpete.org