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Ingenious Solution Averts Building Closure in Region 8

Moss Water Solution Image

A water main leak at the Moss Courthouse in Salt Lake City in mid-July threatened to disrupt operations for an extended period and could have cost a significant amount of time and money.

However, Lionel Montoya, Senior Property Manager for the Utah Field Office, and Alan Antonio, Regional Fire Protection Engineer came up with a creative solution that not only solved the problem but helped to strengthen ties with local officials in the process.

The two Rocky Mountain Region representatives met with concerned tenants to explain the water main situation and get an idea of the impact if a total shutdown to the building occurred. The building tenants include the Bankruptcy Court, Department of Commerce and U.S. Marshals Service, all of which have critical functions that could not be interrupted. Montoya and Antonio used their experience to come up with an innovative solution to use city water through a fire hydrant using a fire hose in order to maintain water to the building.

“We had to think about not only the impact to our tenants but the public as well,” said Montoya. “Shutting the building down, even for a day, would have closed the courts with a ripple effect that would have impacted for a long time afterward.”

To maintain water to the building, Antonio created a bypass system tying the city fire hydrant to the building using a fire hose and some fabricated connectors. This allowed repairs to the water main to be made without shutting off all water to the building.

The plan required the joint support of the local Fire Department, City Water Utility Department and the GSA Maintenance Contractor to be successful.

“Really, it was a simple solution I developed from my experience working in fire departments,” said Antonio. “The complex part was the coordination with the other agencies to make this all smooth.”While the full repairs to the water main would have been very costly and expected to take anywhere from three days to a week to complete, Montoya and Antonio were able to keep operations going and get water back to the building almost immediately.

It should also be noted that the unique solution was completed under the credit card threshold of $2,500.

Leadership, innovative thinking and effective coordination by Montoya and Antonio helped save time and money while strengthening partnerships with local authorities

“Lionel and Alan lived up to our Region 8 mantra of pride, community and excellence while showing true leadership and innovation in coming up with this solution,” said Andrew Lenz, technical property manager.