January 1, 2017Preventing Frozen Pipes
Freezing weather often approaches unexpectedly and many organizations find themselves unprepared. Organizations with buildings located in a moderate climate are often more at risk of facing frozen pipes and water damage due to the lack of experience or attention given to cold weather preparation.
When water freezes, it expands up to ten percent in volume. It is important to note that fire sprinkler pipes tend to freeze before other water pipes because the water is not moving. When water freezes in a sprinkler pipe, it creates an obstruction that can make the system inoperable during a fire. As ice in the pipe expands, added pressure can cause the pipe to burst.
As freezing temperatures approach, the following guidelines will help organizations identify areas venerable to freezing conditions and provide tips for prevention of frozen pipes.
Prior to Cold Weather:
- Develop a water intrusion plan that includes winterization.
- Identify buildings, equipment, processes and piping (wet and dry) that are dependent upon heat (or above freezing temperatures) for safety and proper operation; this may include sprinkler piping, domestic water piping, sewer piping and any process that contains a liquid vulnerable to freezing.
- Minimize the exterior openings to all buildings, especially vacant buildings.
- Drain liquids from any idle equipment and piping where appropriate.
During Cold Weather:
- Monitor weather temperatures in vulnerable areas. Critical operations and areas should be monitored with low temperature alarms connected to a monitoring station.
- Close windows, vents and doors of buildings and insulate where possible. Tarps may be used to provide temporary wind breaks.
- Increase security rounds in areas that are susceptible to pipe freezing and water damage.
- Maintain an inside temperature above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Place portable heaters in areas that may be subject to freezing. Conduct routine inspections of portable heaters.
NOTE: Fires often result from the misuse of temporary heaters. When purchasing or renting a temporary heater, the heater should carry the Underwriters Laboratories listed label. Temporary heaters also should have standard safety controls, such as high-temperature cut-outs, flame supervision, flame failure and preset safety regulators. Heaters must be placed away from combustible materials and operated according to manufactures instructions.
In the event all efforts fail to keep a building heated and temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it may be necessary to shut off and completely drain wet pipe fire sprinkler systems to prevent further damage. Any sprinkler system shut down must be done for the shortest possible duration and fire system impairment procedures must be followed.
- If pipes freeze, turn off the water supply and repair the damaged piping. If the frozen pipe is part of a fire sprinkler system, Fire Impairment Procedures should be implemented.
- Do not use open flames to thaw frozen pipes or other equipment.
Should you have further questions on cold weather preparation for you building, please do not hesitate to contact Alliant Risk Control Consulting at RiskControl@Alliant.com.
June 23, 2020Policy Change Notification - Testing for Customers with Backflow Devices
Dear Backflow Customer,
You have been identified as a customer with a backflow device and have been included in our annual backflow testing program. King County Water District No. 90 (the District) plans to make significant changes to its backflow testing program effective immediately. Please read below for details:
Nearly 1,300 of the District's 8,150 customers (about 16%) have backflow devices on their property that ensures water can only flow one direction. This device protects the District's water system from contamination through fire systems, irrigation systems, or commercial properties “pulling” chemicals into the drinking water system, should there be a backflow event (i.e. a main break or a fire). The District is required by Washington Law (RCW 246-290-460) to have a backflow program that identifies properties requiring a backflow device and to ensure that these devices are tested annually.
Starting in the Summer of 2020, the administration of the District's backflow program will be outsourced to a third party, BSI Backflow Solutions, LLC (“BSI”). The BSI program requires that all future test reports be filed online through the BSI portal. Moving forward, both you and your previous tester will be notified by BSI each year of when to submit your annual test. The letter will include a unique customer number that your tester will need in order to file your annual test report online. Starting September 1, 2020, your tester will be required to pay $14.95 to file each backflow test online. Ultimately, this fee will be your responsibility, and not the District's.
In past years, the District has sent out letters on May 1st giving customers 60 days to have their devices tested. This year, due to Covid-19, the District had to delay the program because testers notified us that they were unable to obtain enough personal protective equipment to safely test and meet customers at their homes. As we get back to a more normal schedule, District staff has had to determine how to catch-up on necessary work that was delayed due to the quarantine. The backflow program is extremely time intensive for staff, requiring hundreds of hours of staff time every year. Moving to an online submittal format will save the District a significant amount of time that will be reallocated to other projects.
So far in 2020, the District has already received 430 test reports (out of 1,300 devices or 33%). For those of you who have already submitted your report, this change will not impact you until 2021. Additionally, due to the late notice, we were able to negotiate a one-time “free period” to submit your 2020 test report. This free period will be between August 1 to August 31, 2020. Prior to August 1, completed test reports can be emailed to the District at email@example.com. No test reports will be accepted at the District after July 31.
If you have not submitted your 2020 backflow test report, you can expect your first letter toward the end of July. You do not need to wait for the letter to initiate testing. For your reference, the 2019 list of backflow testers is available on the District's website at https://www.kcwd90.com/forms/000103.pdf.
If you have already submitted your 2020 report, your first backflow letter from BSI will arrive in May of 2021. We anticipate that in 2021 we will be on a more normal schedule with backflow letters being issued in early May and tests due by the end of June.
If you have questions, please contact me by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
King County Water District No. 90
March 23, 2020PRESS RELEASE - Special Purpose District Operations During COVID-19
Water and sewer districts throughout the state are taking all steps necessary to continue providing safe and reliable water and sewer services for the duration of this emergency.
April 3, 2020PUBLIC MEETINGS
If you would like to attend a public meeting by phone, please email our office (email@example.com) in advance. Thank you!
March 20, 2020Letter to Customers Regarding Access to Clean and Safe Drinking Water; Payment Options
As the Coronavirus continues to impact our region, we want to assure you that you will continue to have access to clean and safe drinking water. We understand that water is critical to our individual and global virus response.
With so much uncertainty, we know that customers may be concerned about paying their bills. For the duration of the declared emergency in the State of Washington, KCWD90 will not be disconnecting customers for non-payment. In addition, we are also suspending late fees. If you would like to set up a payment plan or other payment arrangements, please contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss options. District staff will still read your meter, and you will receive a bill on your regular bi-monthly schedule.
Employee safety is a priority! Office and Management employees are working from home as much as possible. Field Crew employees, who ensure your water continues to be delivered to your home, are working one week in the field and one week at home. We hope that by separating our workforce, we will continue to have healthy crew members during all phases of this pandemic to ensure that safe, potable water continues to flow to your taps.
The District office is closed to walk-in traffic. Our office staff will be collecting payments from the dropbox every day. Also, you can still make payments through our website, through your bank, or you can sign up for draft payments.
Our office staff is still available to answer your billing and water quality questions. Please send your questions via email to email@example.com. If it is an emergency, please call us at 425-255-9600. If your call is after hours, the answering service will contact our "on-call" field employee.
Sincerely, Darcey Peterson, General Manager, KCWD90