One of my earliest and longest-lasting fandoms is civic infrastructure. Not only did I float boats down the gutters when I was a child, I built dams and spillways.
For the past month, my city has been replacing all the main pipes -- water supply, sewage, and storm drains -- under the street around the corner.
I just discovered that there's a party tomorrow to celebrate the rehabilitation of 100 miles of water line in the city!
Full details and why it's worth celebrating on the city-owned Water Utility's blog
Plus more serendipity! I glanced at the previous blog, and discovered that my favorite local comedy musical duo had recorded a song for the Water Utility Enjoy Lou & Peter Berryman, with captions:
A study commissioned by the utility in 2004 showed that nearly half of the city’s water mains needed to be replaced – about 400 miles of underground pipe. The utility would have to implement a long-range 40 year plan and start replacing nine to twelve miles a year, at a cost of about $1 million a mile, just to catch up.
“We said at the time, ‘There’s no way. We can’t go from one-and-a-half miles to nine miles year,’” Larson recalls. “So our goal was to ramp up slowly over the next 15 years to get to where we needed to be. In 2005, we started our Water Main Replacement Program and started focusing on replacements."
This month, the city will hit a major milestone – 100 miles of main replaced since Madison Water Utility began its Water Main Replacement Program twelve years ago. “In 2005 I couldn’t fathom being at a hundred miles. I thought that was like climbing Mount Everest,” Larson laughs. “We’ve made great strides toward our goal of replacing 400 miles of the worst pipe.”
Lou & Peter have been making me laugh for forty years: I vividly remember seeing them play at the long-lamented Club de Wash in 1977. Their music is inventive and the lyrics are witty, funny, and always make you think. We got more insight into their creative process when Peter's wife, K, joined us at the computer start-up in the 80s. In fact, we got a blow-by-blow on the composition of "Why Am I Painting the Living Room?" It explores the impact of home-ownership and adulting on our politics.