The funny disease.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Inflatable Rubber Dam in Tempe Sustains Sun Damage

The harsh power of the sun is difficult to comprehend for non-desert dwellers. And apparently the concept is difficult to grasp for some who do live in the desert.

Despite living in one of the hottest parts of Arizona (and I mean that in a purely climatological sense), it seems that the Tempe City Council of 1999 was unenlightened about the challenges of installing a couple of inflatable rubber dams in Tempe to create Town Lake, a colossal monument to the desert obsession with water. When the Tempe City Council hired Bridgestone to build the dams in 1999, they were told the inflatable rubber dams would last 20 years, but there is only a 10-year warranty on them.

Tires on cars and trucks do not last as long as they normally would, through our 100-degree plus summers. One would think that Bridgestone--which in addition to building inflatable dams, manufactures tires--would have been well aware of the proclivity of inflatable rubber objects to deteriorate in hot climates. In 2019 the City Council would have been composed of entirely new membership, repairs to the dam would have been Somebody Else’s Problem.

In 1999 Tempe installed two rubber dams around a flood plain, inflated them and filled the space in between them with 3,065 acre feet or 996,125,000 gallons of water, in order to give residents of Tempe more “recreational opportunities.” It took 42 days to fill Town Lake. The Western dam gets more direct sunlight than the Eastern dam and, in consequence, it is developing hairline cracks.

When I was a child, I remember having an inflatable Barbie armchair. This was a good idea, as it gave Barbie a nice place to sit and when I was done playing, I could deflate the chair and put it, and Barbie into her Section 8 Dream Condo (my Mom’s old suitcase). It was not holding back an incomprehensible amount of water. And when my little brother punctured it, I had a craft project on my hands. I wasn’t salting away $16 million in order to repair it.

To recap, inflatable Barbie furniture is a good idea. Inflatable dam under the unrelenting sun of the Sonoran Desert: notsomuch.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Fuff said...

Very nicely put, Sarah.

3/28/2006 5:02 PM

 
Blogger Sarah Letnes said...

Why thanks, Fuff.

3/28/2006 5:20 PM

 
Anonymous the_phosgene_kid said...

Good one!! All those morons would have had to do is check their windshield wipers around July to see the rubber blade was shot. I usually dont realize it until monsoons when I hit the wipers and I have a bunch of rubber strings dangling from the metal arm.

3/29/2006 2:59 PM

 
Blogger Tea and Books, etc said...

I think part of the recreational plans included giant rubber duckies and inflatable rafts.

Considering how precious water is, the thought of such a large undertaking 'for recreational purposes' seems a mite short-sighted, wasteful, and expensive.

3/29/2006 5:06 PM

 

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