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Subject: Water pipes in archival storage

Water pipes in archival storage

From: Ryan Kershaw <rkershaw>
Date: Friday, February 10, 2006
Bruce Bumbarger <bbumbarg [at] haverford__edu> writes

>Our Special Collections Department has been offered space for the
>offsite storage of archival material, books and perhaps some artwork
>(primarily paintings) in a building adjacent to our library. The
>space is on the lowest of the structure's three floors. ...
>The one downside is the presence of four large (perhaps 4-6 inch
>diameter) overhead cast-iron pipes. One of these is the main feed
>for a portion of the building fire suppression system, two serve as
>supply and return pipes for part of the heating system, and I'm not
>sure what role the fourth plays. All of it is new, installed two
>years ago as part of an earlier renovation.

While I cannot suggest something that would completely avoid this
situation, I might be able to point you towards an instrument that
could aid in detecting and/or controlling the fallout of such a
situation.  In my searches for one of my customers I came across an
interesting little gadget that could be placed within such
catchments, or anywhere else for that matter, to provide a quick
detection any leaks, no matter the size
<URL:>.  The price on it seems to
be quite reasonable and it seems to be able to detect small leaks
quite well.

Once an instrument such as this is in place there are a few
different options as to how this can best be used.  The first would
be to use its audible alarm, which would not help if there was no
one within listening distance.  The second would be to integrate
into your security and/or environmental monitoring system.  The
alarm could then be responded to much as you would any other alarm
associated with the system.  Also, some newer systems offer SMS
capability which allows them to fire off multiple text messages to
personnel responsible for the collection.

The third, and probably the most expensive way to use these sensors
would be to wire them into a control system that could activate
isolation valves the instant a leak is detected.  This may or may
not prevent a catastrophic situation from occurring, but it will at
least limit the amount of water released to the amount that was in
the pipe downstream of the isolation valve at the time of the alarm,
thus allowing you to size your catchments appropriately.

A couple of notes on this: while I am uneducated in building fire
codes, I am willing to bet that placing such a device on the fire
line would violate at least a few of them; also you would have to
ensure that the interruption of the other lines would not damage the
heating system, or at least find a way to shut down the system
before such damage occurred.

Ryan Kershaw
Technical Sales
Bestobell AquaTronix
Canadian Hanwell Distributor
Toronto, Ontario
Fax: 416-231-9121

                  Conservation DistList Instance 19:38
                 Distributed: Monday, February 20, 2006
                       Message Id: cdl-19-38-003
Received on Friday, 10 February, 2006

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