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Leveraging The Science Of Water And Sustainability: Achieving Public Health Benefits With PVC Pipe Underground Infrastructure

By Mayor John Marchand, City of Livermore, CA Spring 2017
Newsletter of the Mayors Water Council of The United States Conference of Mayors

In our nation, mayors face many challenges and find themselves relying on the skills and advice of others while also drawing on their own knowledge and expertise. I am honored to be part of The US Conference of Mayor’s Water Council where our experience and expertise can be shared mayor to mayor.Discolored Water

As mayors, our bottom line has always been public health and safety. I spent my career as a drinking water chemist so one of my top priorities has always been water quality. Water is the most fundamental compound for life to exist. Prior to becoming a mayor, I spent 40 years dealing with water quality issues. As a result, I have gained an expertise in one of our most pressing public health issues - Water Quality. The standard, to which I held myself and encouraged others, was to “Strive for perfection, settle for excellence.”


Livermore with a population of 84,000, values science and is the home of two national science laboratories. Teams from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Flerov Institute in Russia created a new chemical element livermorium, which places the city’s name in the periodic table. Livermore also prides itself on sustainability by maintaining services and planning for growth. It even boasts a world record of a 110+ year old 4-watt light bulb, called the Centennial Light, which has been burning continuously since 1901. We also invest in sustainability in our underground water infrastructure. Our water system consists of 175.5 miles of potable pipe, 18.6 miles of recycled pipe and 296 miles of sewer pipe,2,758 valves, 1,578 hydrants, and 376 other appurtenances such as air release and blow-off valves. Based upon water industry standards, we do a great job of treating the water. However, we cannot forget about water quality once the water leaves the plant. The underground pipe material which makes up the distribution system that carries water to our homes and families, is also very important.


Water quality is a critical issue facing the nation today. We are experiencing the increasing wave of aging water infrastructure challenges with water main breaks, water loss and replacement costs. This occurs as iron pipes corrode and fail. Corrosion and pipe failures not only increase costs but also degrade our water quality.


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