Post COVID, Poor Maintenance and Cumulative Disrepair

Stuff that’s happening in the world that may pertain to our survival. Please keep political debates off the forum.

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BrokenFiringPin
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Post COVID, Poor Maintenance and Cumulative Disrepair

Post by BrokenFiringPin » Sat Sep 05, 2020 12:32 pm

I've option wondered how long various systems can go without maintenance and I think we are beginning to get a taste of that answer. It seems like the mental fog many have acquired and the lack of attendance of work shows that systems do break down when not used or maintained at the rate they are designed for. Fault tolerance is built into most systems, but the human fault itself is the most often the Achilles heel and when we take a workforce away - they leave a vacuum of repair, and when we are glued to our TVs or phones watching the world burn the world burns even more.

I believe there is an upcoming failure of complex systems due to the break in routines that has already begun to damage the infrastructure. It may not even be that the various systems like our power grid, nuclear plants, or other critical infrastructure.

This says nothing about a terrorist or foreign nation attack on critical systems - as math and statistics are generally on the side of the attacker.

If the pandemic ends soon, and I do not truly expect it to; its a good indicator of why we must be more organized and methodical in general. It also makes the value of high tech solutions somewhat questionable. Furthermore, it also shows just how hard it is to regain momentum.

Repair civilization, it could be a slippery slope.

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Re: Post COVID, Poor Maintenance and Cumulative Disrepair

Post by MPMalloy » Sat Sep 05, 2020 11:05 pm

BrokenFiringPin wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 12:32 pm
I've option wondered how long various systems can go without maintenance and I think we are beginning to get a taste of that answer. It seems like the mental fog many have acquired and the lack of attendance of work shows that systems do break down when not used or maintained at the rate they are designed for. Fault tolerance is built into most systems, but the human fault itself is the most often the Achilles heel and when we take a workforce away - they leave a vacuum of repair, and when we are glued to our TVs or phones watching the world burn the world burns even more.

I believe there is an upcoming failure of complex systems due to the break in routines that has already begun to damage the infrastructure. It may not even be that the various systems like our power grid, nuclear plants, or other critical infrastructure.

This says nothing about a terrorist or foreign nation attack on critical systems - as math and statistics are generally on the side of the attacker.

If the pandemic ends soon, and I do not truly expect it to; its a good indicator of why we must be more organized and methodical in general. It also makes the value of high tech solutions somewhat questionable. Furthermore, it also shows just how hard it is to regain momentum.

Repair civilization, it could be a slippery slope.
:o I never stopped to think of that. :shock:

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Re: Post COVID, Poor Maintenance and Cumulative Disrepair

Post by emclean » Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:20 am

I don't think that the a lot of critical infrastructure isn't being maintained (any more than usual).

I know at my healthcare system we haven't cut back on maintenance. venders an employees are still doing their normal activity.

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Re: Post COVID, Poor Maintenance and Cumulative Disrepair

Post by Confucius » Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:21 am

emclean wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:20 am
I don't think that the a lot of critical infrastructure isn't being maintained (any more than usual).

I know at my healthcare system we haven't cut back on maintenance. venders an employees are still doing their normal activity.
The refining industry pretty much across the board deferred shutdowns to free up cash.


Which is an interesting decision, given how poor margins are right now, the lost profit opportunity from maintenance is pretty much nill, but I guess nobody can bear spending a few hundred million on a turnaround right now...

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Re: Post COVID, Poor Maintenance and Cumulative Disrepair

Post by Blast » Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:37 am

As people lose their jobs local, state, and national tax money drops. This means either those governments borrow money to make repairs (bad!) or don't make the necessary infrastructure repairs and preventative maintenance (bad!). It's a no win situation. Isn't there a saying like, "It collapsed slowly, then very quickly". I think that's what we need to be thinking about now, prep-wise. What do we need from a working infrastructure and so what do we need to stock up on if that infrastructure begins crumbling.

In my current job I formulate dietary supplements (ancient plants for modern issues) and we're seeing lots of supply chain issues. We have the plants but getting the bottles, lids, and labels has been turning into a nightmare causing all sorts of delays. Turns out while food and medicine companies are deemed essential, a lot of the secondary companies they need (packaging manufacturers, label printers, etc) aren't and were shut down. Apparently the powers that be don't realize you need packaging to sell food/medicine. :roll:

As an ex-member of the oil industry, I'm terrified by what I'm seeing happening there. The insanely low price of oil has resulted in huge layoffs of the most experienced, knowledgeable, and therefor most expensive employees. When something happens overseas and oil suddenly shoots up in price we won't have the necessary people or equipment available to quickly and safely turn the North American petroleum industry back on. We are going to be bent over the (foreign oil) barrel and it's really going to hurt us. :(

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Re: Post COVID, Poor Maintenance and Cumulative Disrepair

Post by raptor2 » Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:15 am

Confucius wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:21 am

Which is an interesting decision, given how poor margins are right now, the lost profit opportunity from maintenance is pretty much nill, but I guess nobody can bear spending a few hundred million on a turnaround right now...
That shows you how scared the oil industry is right now. Conservation of capital is the driving force. They do not want to spend a penny that that is not needed. They watched the price of WTI go negative earlier this year and that scared the ever loving shit out them. Can't say I blame them. But what that does mean is greater chance of unplanned outages and out of spec conditions,

If you work or live near such a plant the possibility of negative incidents affecting you has increased.
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Re: Post COVID, Poor Maintenance and Cumulative Disrepair

Post by MacWa77ace » Fri Sep 11, 2020 8:53 am

I loved this series called, "Life After People", so much so I got the boxed DVD set for Christmas a few years ago.
They go in-depth into all types of systems, environmental, mechanical, nuclear, solar, structural, etc etc, and how long until they fail, or revert back to nature if one day all people disappear, starting with "One day after people" and then going into weeks, then months, then a year, then 10 years, then a hundred, then a 1000, etc, watching these systems.

Think of the beginning scene in I Am Legend, they use those kinds of computer graphics to show the decay.

https://www.history.com/shows/life-after-people
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Re: Post COVID, Poor Maintenance and Cumulative Disrepair

Post by MPMalloy » Fri Sep 11, 2020 9:04 am

MacWa77ace wrote:
Fri Sep 11, 2020 8:53 am
I loved this series called, "Life After People", so much so I got the boxed DVD set for Christmas a few years ago. They go in-depth into all types of systems, environmental, mechanical, nuclear, solar, structural, etc etc, and how long until they fail, or revert back to nature if one day all people disappear, starting with "One day after people" and then going into weeks, then months, then a year, then 10 years, then a hundred, then a 1000, etc, watching these systems.

Think of the beginning scene in I Am Legend, they use those kinds of computer graphics to show the decay.

https://www.history.com/shows/life-after-people
That show was the coolest!

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Re: Post COVID, Poor Maintenance and Cumulative Disrepair

Post by M813 » Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:18 am

National infrastructure has already been in a state of disrepair for years.

As previously mentioned, a steep drop-off in tax revenue is occurring right now due to unemployment (payroll taxes, sales tax and other taxes) and evictions (property taxes). This will manifest itself in the next year or two in the form of even greater infrastructure decline. Everything from water purification and distribution to sewage systems to roads to public lighting (street lights and such). Maintenance of public structures such as schools, courthouses and administrative buildings will also suffer.

Power grid maintenance varies across the nation due to the numerous utility companies and each individual state's approach to regulation of those utilities. For example, part of the reason for California's grid disrepair is because the state government mandated that PG&E invest a certain portion of their capital funds in renewable energy projects. As a result, this money did not go to existing grid maintenance. There is much, much more to PG&E's failures than that, but it is a contributing factor and just one example. Commercial and residential natural gas lines are also in disrepair.

As weird as it sounds, some of the public structures will suffer less because state bureaucracies are jumping on the telework bandwagon. They will look to permanently shutter unnecessary administrative facilities to reduce maintenance and operating costs.

I am on a private well and I have a solar array and backup battery so I am somewhat insulated from those failures but I am on a bastardized sewage system. The old septic tank is still in my yard but it has been connected to a public sewage system and I have no way to disconnect it. That part concerns me.

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Re: Post COVID, Poor Maintenance and Cumulative Disrepair

Post by EBuff75 » Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:12 am

Last month I was working in the yard and started finding pieces of what appeared to be wire insulation. I looked up at the power lines and realized that they (along with some of the cable/phone/etc.) lines looked really ratty. Once I started looking around, I discovered that there was a ton of this stuff all over the ground. I bagged it up (wasn't sure what it was made out of and really didn't want to shred it up with the mower) and then called the power company (figuring that if there was a "worst case" for which of the lines it came from, the power lines was it).

While I'd emphasized that I didn't know for certain which lines it came from and that there was no outage/downed line, they still showed up within 20 minutes. The guy looked at it and basically shrugged. Yup, it was from the power lines, but no, it wasn't something to worry about.

After he left, I poked around online and found that the lines are probably what is called "tree line" which is coated to help prevent short circuits in areas which have trees which could brush against it. So having intact insulation isn't a requirement for power lines, but it is nice to have in an older area like mine with lots of trees.

Makes me wonder how old the power lines are in my area. I'm in a post-war neighborhood and most of the houses here were built in 1950-52. Could be that it dates back that far. The insulation looked liked dried tar with some colored string/cloth inside it. I think what concerned me the most was the "meh" attitude of the guy who looked at it. If there was enough concern when it was installed to put in this kind of line, you'd think that when it starts to fall apart that it would be worth at least a little concern.

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Re: Post COVID, Poor Maintenance and Cumulative Disrepair

Post by MPMalloy » Mon Oct 12, 2020 11:15 am

This popped up in my feed.


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Re: Post COVID, Poor Maintenance and Cumulative Disrepair

Post by BrokenFiringPin » Sun Oct 25, 2020 7:07 pm

M813 wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:18 am
National infrastructure has already been in a state of disrepair for years.

Power grid maintenance varies across the nation due to the numerous utility companies and each individual state's approach to regulation of those utilities. For example, part of the reason for California's grid disrepair is because the state government mandated that PG&E invest a certain portion of their capital funds in renewable energy projects. As a result, this money did not go to existing grid maintenance. There is much, much more to PG&E's failures than that, but it is a contributing factor and just one example. Commercial and residential natural gas lines are also in disrepair
After reading Ted Koppel's Lights Out, I have to concur. The breaking up of the utilities and the differing laws cause this. "The Grid" is indeed a hodge-podge of interconnected and unstandardized systems. Uniformity would be advantageous when faced with a enemy or adversary. If we compared ours to China's - it would likely be completely uniform. I do not speak from intelligence on that matter, but conformity would lend to easier security and the ability to build redudancy.
I am on a private well and I have a solar array and backup battery so I am somewhat insulated from those failures but I am on a bastardized sewage system. The old septic tank is still in my yard but it has been connected to a public sewage system and I have no way to disconnect it. That part concerns me.
Pooping is half the battle....

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Re: Post COVID, Poor Maintenance and Cumulative Disrepair

Post by M813 » Mon Oct 26, 2020 11:13 am

I'll just stop eating. :mrgreen:

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Re: Post COVID, Poor Maintenance and Cumulative Disrepair

Post by TacAir » Mon Oct 26, 2020 12:13 pm

If not on a septic system, how many here have contact their local utility and asked where the nearest lift station is located?

The engineer I talked with was surprised. I was the first person that called and asked this question in the 20+ years he had been at the utility. nice person, send along a map of what empties my area. Someone downstream is in for an ugly surprise if the electric is out for an extended period. That 'eruption point' is 3 miles away, so out of my worry zone for now.

I know my water comes for a lake and it moved by gravity all the way to the house. The treatment system could go offline, but at least the water will continue to flow - at least for a while.

If we lose electric power, it is game over. Rolling blackouts I can deal with....
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