The City of Hutto is excited to honor the hard-working individuals within the City’s Department of Public Works during National Public Works Week from Sunday, May 15 through Saturday, May 21. Hutto Public Works is divided into three main divisions – Line Maintenance, Streets & Drainage, and Utility Support – as well as fleet, facility maintenance, and administration personnel.
In the spirit of celebrating Hutto Public Works employees, here are some simple tips and tricks homeowners and business operators can follow to lessen the strain on local infrastructure.
Keep Pipes Clear
Keeping a mindful eye on anything and everything that enters the drains in your home or business is one of the easiest ways to prevent property damage, plumbing problems and health issues. Wastewater treatment technologies and processes are designed to only break down bodily waste and toilet paper. Even wipes labeled as “flushable” are too thick and do not disintegrate easily in wastewater systems. Because these types of wipes are designed to absorb moisture and stay intact when wet, they can take up to eight days to dissolve, while regular toilet paper dissolves in just minutes. Flushed wipes accumulate and can block pipes and pumps, a destructive and labor-intensive problem Hutto Public Works teams have had to tackle more and more in recent years.
Kitchen grease is another common threat when it comes to pipe blockage. While grease might enter a pipe as a liquid, it converts into a wax-like substance over time, easily clogging drains and pipes. Leftover grease should be disposed of in a standard trash receptacle. Paint, cleaners and fertilizers should never be poured down the drain. Pipes clogged by these common household items can easily overflow, causing a nasty and costly mess that is often times not covered by standard homeowner’s insurance.
Monitor Your Water
Water leaks, both visible and invisible, are costly and wasteful. One quick and easy way to monitor for a water leak in your home or business is to check your water meter. First, ensure no water is running inside or outside, especially by toilets. Locate then open your water meter box, and watch the meter for several minutes to see if there’s movement. If the numbers are changing, water is flowing. Some water meters even alert you if water is flowing for over 24 hours.
While rare, another issue homeowners and business operators might face is discoloration of their water. In most, if not all, cases, water that is slightly discolored is still safe. Black particles visible in the water supply could indicate degraded rubber gaskets, o-rings or meter washers. Should this happen to you, first check the faucet head and o-rings to see if disintegration is occurring. Brown water could possibly be caused by nearby construction, hydrant flushing or manganese in the water supply. Cloudy or milky water is sometimes the result of air bubbles in the pipes often caused by a change in temperature. Finally, yellow water may indicate manganese of resin from a water softener entering the supply. While most water discoloration is not dangerous, if you’ve taken these recommended steps and still have concerns, feel free to contact Hutto Public Works.
Save the Drain for Rain
It is important for homeowners and business operators to understand the difference between the City’s sanitary sewer system and the stormwater sewer system. Water that enters the sanitary sewer system from sinks, toilets and showers flows to a wastewater treatment plant where it is tested and filtered prior to entering any water bodies. The City of Hutto operates 10 lift stations that pump wastewater to gravity sewer mains that flow to either the Central Treatment Plant or the South Treatment Plant, both operated by the Brazos River Authority.
The stormwater sewer system transports stormwater and urban runoff that flows down driveways and streets directly to our creeks, lakes and rivers. Anything that enters a stormwater sewer system is discharged, untreated, into the water that we use for swimming, fishing, boating and other recreational activities.
Illicit discharge, or the dumping of anything other than the water that falls from the sky, is illegal! Homeowners and business operators can help prevent the buildup of illicit discharge by following these easy steps:
- Never sweep or blow leaves and other yard clippings into storm drains
- Always dispose of used motor oil at approved disposal sites
- Follow directions on pesticides and fertilizers and avoid use when rain is in the forecast
- Take leftover paint, cleaners and other household chemicals to an approved disposal site
- Pick up pet waste and dispose of it properly to keep bacteria and parasites out of our creeks
By following these simple processes and procedures, we can all do our part to avoid costly, unsightly and unhealthy damage to our public works infrastructure and help lighten the load of the hard-working individuals at the City of Hutto’s Department of Public Works!