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Posted: 16 January 2012
As you all know water is supplied to our homes via pipe work, typically of a half inch diameter. The average person uses in the region of 155 litres (34gallons) per day, an awful lot of which goes almost straight back down the drain. The average house contains somewhere around 500 feet of water pipe work. If the pipe splits (or is inadvertently drilled into) the mess and volume of water that leaks out is phenomenal, as can be the cost of the plumber called to fix the problem.
Within the brewery the principle is the same although the scale is slightly different. We have several miles of pipe work of varying diameters (up to 6 inches) supplying water to all stages of the process as well as for moving wort and ultimately beer through the brewery, all the way to the packaging lines, we use in excess of 36000 gallons of water per day in the brew house alone (producing around 900 brls of beer).
Last week one of our supply mains sprung a leak, with this volume of water it could be heard from a considerable distance away as a noise somewhere between the running of a shower and that of a waterfall!! Thankfully we have valves in line that act in the same way as the mains water stopcock and so allowed us to isolate the water supply within minutes of the leak occurring.
In answer to the original question, yes I do know a good plumber or more accurately a team of brewery engineers who were able to repair the main and restore the water supply without any significant impact on our production, minimal losses of water down the drain and no form of call out charge!
Hopefully this week will see us producing a vast volume of beer without any such mishaps.
Stewart Tricker - Senior Brewer