A little insight into how sewage pipes can have problems with Y2K

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In response to question about sewage pipes breaking and Y2K... In our research this last year we were told we many need to be concerned about certain things that were computerized or had embedded systems...sewage systems was one of these... Here is an excerpt from California Office of Emergency Services website which doesn't exactly go into details but shows the concern...

Web site: LINK ------------------------------------------------------------ Background Description of the Y2K Problem The potential impacts of the Y2K problem or Millennium Bug present unique challenges to emergency management organizations at all levels of government.

On December 31, 1999, equipment and computer devices with date sensitive chips or software may fail as the date rolls over to the year 2000. Other dates related to the new millennium may also trigger equipment and computer failures. The problem arises from the fact that many computer systems represent years with only two digits instead of four, and fail to correctly handle dates beyond 1999.

What are the implications for emergency management? The implications are three-fold: failures could cause an emergency, could impair response, and could impact internal systems.

7 Examples of emergencies which might be caused by the Y2K problem.

Malfunctioning automated or computer systems could result in:

1. loss of power generation or transmission; 2. failure of sewage treatment or water delivery systems; and, 3. the untimely release of hazardous materials from a chemical handling company.

-- Sheri Nakken (wncy2k@nccn.net), January 14, 2000


Yes - Failure of systems could cause problems with waste management facilities. Might even cause them to pump out raw sewage (Knock-on- wood this doesnt happen) but a systems problem is not going to cause a pipe to break underground. Sewer pipes break all the time - usually due to temperature changes. It isn't pressure in the pipes cuased by a system failure breaking them. If sewer sytems close their valves, well, it's a mess for the unlucky neighborhood whose pipes wont drain. The Houston sewer system is horribly in need of work as are most in other major metropolitan areas. I still have yet to see any evidence that this is a systems Y2K issue.

-- Lee Barrentine (Wrknman042Legacy@aol.com), January 15, 2000.

I'm not sure anyone is saying for sure that it is a Y2K issue. On this website we are posting a variety of situations that may or may not be Y2K to try and track trends and events and see if there is a connection to Y2K.

-- Sheri (wncy2k@nccn.net), January 15, 2000.

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