On Monday, April 29th, our maintenance team of Bob, Nick, Tom and Rey, with help from a few others, completed the project to clean and repair our pride and joy, the Rings Fountain, for the summer season.

To recap, we have seen five seasons of usage, with the fountain running between 9 am and 11 pm daily between Memorial Day weekend and Columbus Day weekend.  It’s one of five fountains on the greenway, with the others located in the Wharf District (Harbor Fog), Chinatown and in the North End.

The Rings fountain is the most complex with 120 shooters (jets), a number of fogger units, over 100 lights and lots of hoses and connections.  It was built by a company called Wet Design.  While we do daily and weekly maintenance to fix leaks, replace lights, change filters and water quality, we knew we needed to tackle some bigger tasks that would ensure that the fountain would continue to run for another five years.

Thanks to our Maintenance staff, we were able to do nearly all of the work ourselves, saving time and money for the Conservancy. From start to finish, it took about eight weeks.

We wanted to share a few pictures of the work that was done and provide some details about the project.

We started by pulling out several hundred granite pavers and then the concrete forms that sit below the granite.

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Granite pavers with concrete blocks beneath

Each paver is uniquely cut for a specific spot, so they all had to be numbered and organized on site.

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Blocks numbered and stacked onsite

We then did a thorough cleaning and recovered a number of the shims that we use to level each of the pavers at the bottom of the fountain area.  We re-used many of the shims when we put the fountain back together.

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Nick recording what’s been done and what hasn’t.

Next we removed all of the hoses and fittings that connect the valves that power the shooters.  We replaced a number of elements in each of the fog units.  We replaced several of the lights that could be repaired last year when we refurbished most of the 100 plus lights.

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This is insulation that keeps the lights water tight. It hardens into a very thick jello like substance after it’s poured into the light housing.

In some cases, we brought in plumbers to re-weld a section of copper pipe and re-attached the main water distribution pipes with brass fittings.

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Copper pipe at center of picture showing new section welded into place.

We cut new hose lengths, attached new fittings and reconnected all of the hose and value connections: twelve per shooter, a total of over 1,200 connections that had to be completed in a certain order.

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Shooter Value Assembly – shooter pipe on top left, lights below and to the top right, hoses connecting to value and shooter chamber on middle right.

We then tested the entire system.  It worked great, with just a few adjustments to a few connections.

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Rey doing his part to look for leaks while the fountain runs all around him.

Then, we put the concrete and then granite pavers back in the right sequence, each in it’s unique spot. Our little European tool made lifting these several hundred pound granite blocks a breeze.

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Tom and Nick (right) along with one of our Work, Inc. staff placing a granite block.

We’re looking forward to opening the fountain in just a few weeks!

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Visitors enjoying Rings on Memorial Day weekend in 2012