Several years ago, my lovely suburban Chicago village of Lagrange, Ill., installed a fountain in the central business district. It’s wonderful. Every warm evening, people of all ages chill out on the surrounding benches, mesmerized by the hypnotic flow.
But there’s something about fountains that brings out the worst in certain personalities. A couple years ago, the concrete feature had to be completely replaced after someone tried to climb it. At least that’s what police think happened. The pedestal was broken and the bowls damaged beyond repair. The village used the insurance reimbursement to buy a new one.
The fountain in the photo to the right isn’t being repaired because of vandalism. Built in the 1600s, the Latona Fountain at the Palace of Versailles outside Paris desperately needed some TLC. Yes, the marble sculptures were damaged, but fixing what the public can’t see — the infrastructure — is more important. The fountain’s hydraulic system feeds the 50 (yes, 50) other fountains from underground reservoirs at the 2,000-acre site.
Since many of you are engineers, I thought you would find this 16-month, three-phase project fascinating. (I couldn’t find the cost, but restoring a three-century-old asset must take millions of dollars.) I saw it in April while attending the Intermat construction trade show in Paris.
Here are some other glimpses of public works in France.
On an unrelated note, keep those job descriptions coming (a lot of jobs in water and sewer lately). We post for free to www.pwmag.com, our LinkedIn page, and weekly e-newsletter. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.