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July 10, 2018

Wasa to place fiberglass manhole covers to stop theft


July 10, 2018

LAHORE: Taking an innovative decision, Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) has decided to place manhole covers made of fibreglass of zero scrap value which will stop theft of manhole covers and save precious lives in the provincial capital.

The decision was taken by Wasa Managing Director Syed Zahid Aziz, who as a Faisalabad Wasa MD, had already introduced fibreglass manhole covers in the city, and for the last five years not a single manhole cover in Faisalabad has been stolen.

The project was funded by World Bank, which appreciated Wasa for taking the innovative solution to save precious human lives in the provincial metropolis. World Bank provides funds for the project under the Punjab Cities Governance Maintenance Project.

A single manhole cover with frame is a heavy weight iron material and can be sold for thousands of rupees. Usually, drug addicts and small thieves steal manhole covers with their frames and sell them to scrap dealers at the rate of iron.

“Theft of manhole covers is an international phenomenon and the practice can be witnessed in several mega cities such as Chicago, Mumbai, etc,” said the Wasa MD while talking with the scribe.

“The only solution to stop this practice is its replacement with a zero scrap value item, and many modern cities have adopted various innovations in this regard,” he said, adding Wasa had finally imported 1,600 sets (manhole covers with frames), which would be delivered next months and placed on all the major city roads.

Fibreglass manhole covers offer a quick and affordable way to deter further manhole theft, said Murtazah Ch, senior manager, Lahore Waste Management Company. He said the standard or hinged fiberglass manhole covers have no scrap value so thieves just move on to the next source of scrap. “Chocking of sewer lines due to open manholes is a big issue in Lahore and replacement of cast iron manhole covers with fibreglass will reduce this problem a lot,” he said.

“Fibreglass manhole covers are fully traffic rated and can easily bear 40 tonne weight vehicle,” the Wasa MD said. “These covers are also maintenance free and are fully adjustable with the atmosphere of the city”, he added.

He maintained that replacement of cast iron manhole covers with fibreglass covers will also help reduce accidents on the roads, which occurred due to open manholes. He said the fibreglass manhole covers were lighter and easier for the utility workers to move and place.

Zahid Aziz claimed that many sewer and wastewater systems were highly corrosive while fibreglass manhole covers and frames were perfect for the most corrosive settings found throughout the municipal and industrial settings. “Sulphide-rich effluents along with a warm, humid atmosphere and long retention times create ideal conditions for microbiologically induced corrosion (MIC). MIC destroys typical sewer infrastructure but not fibreglass manholes,” he revealed.

He said the fibreglass manhole covers were better for non conductive applications and might reduce accidents of electrocution in rain. He said cast iron manholes could interfere or block radio signal transmission, which was used during desilting of large sewer lines, whereas, the fiberglass manhole covers offer little interference with radio frequency signals.

He said Wasa was installing SCADA system in the city and fibreglass manhole covers were an ideal fit for AMR systems, SCADA, telemetry, level monitoring, samplers, flow meters and other data acquisition devices.

“The minimum lifespan of a quality fibreglass manhole is more than 30 years while a typical cast iron manhole system might require significant maintenance or replacement costs over that same period of time,” he concluded.

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