By Ronald Parks
I have been working for the water department for 26 years and your clip art is one of the reasons I stopped drinking the water.
One of the first jobs I was given when I came to work here… was to restart the fluoride pumps. The operators were getting erratic readings in their samples. By erratic, I don’t know if they meant too much, or too little fluoride. So I went and checked out the pumps and saw where the fluoride had been leaking out of a pipe fitting and the pump head had stopped pumping.
Where it had leaked and dripped onto the concrete pedestal, the fluoride ate a hole right through the concrete. I tightened all the fittings. This piping system is made out of PVC pipe because the fluoride will eat right through, not only concrete, but iron pipe as well. I then proceeded to take the pump head apart to see why it stopped pumping.
Being new, nobody bothered to tell me how corrosive fluoride was or how dangerous. It burned the cuts on my hands (I’m a mechanic and I get cuts on my hands) and the fumes irratated my eyes.
The inside of the pump was all black and gunked up. The ‘Master Mechanic’ told me to just clean it up, that it was nothing more than ‘tar’ and once cleaned it will work fine. So I cleaned it up and put it back together and it worked fine.
The one thing that bothered me after I was done was that no operator came behind me to make sure the calibration on the pump was correct, that they were actually dosing the system with the correct amount of fluoride. But, being the new guy and needing a job, I said nothing and I also figured these guys had been here awhile and knew what they were doing.
I decided to check the system from tank to insertion point to learn how the system works. There were a few leaks throughout which had also eaten into the concrete floor. I looked inside the tanks and saw that they were metal tanks with a rubber lining on the inside. I asked my boss about that, and he said the lining was to prevent the fluoride from eating through the tank.
Years later I found out that the lining was actually deteriorating over time and that black gunk was the results of the deterioration. So I figured that if fluoride can do that to rubber and concrete, I really didn’t want that stuff in my body. http://rep5355.wordpress.com/history-writings/
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