Village of Westmont
Date Issued: August 31, 2015
The Westmont Public Works Department recently received confirmation that they will be presented with the 2015 Gimmicks and Gadgets Award at the annual Water Infrastructure Conference on October 14 in Bethesda, Maryland. Westmont Public Works will also be featured in the October issue of OpFlow magazine. The award is in regard to a unique innovation created by Westmont Public Works staff called the LUKey. Countries from throughout the world compete for this honor.
“This was truly a situation in which necessity was the mother of invention,” says Village of Westmont Public Works Director Mike Ramsey. “Whenever our crews were out in the field during nighttime service calls, it was very difficult to see down the dark valve vault so that we could connect the valve key. We would use flashlights to try to see where we needed to be, but it wasn’t effective. So we came up with the LUKey.”
The Light Up Key, or ”LUKey”, is a design innovation in which a valve key is fitted with lights along the shaft of the key so that when the key descends into the valve vault or valve box, the bottom of the vault or box is illuminated, thus making it easier for public works staff to access and key the valve. LUKey has proven to work well day or night.
The concept was conceived by Mike Ramsey and Jim Cates from the Westmont Public Works Department, located in Westmont, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago. They brought the idea to Virgil Viscuso, who then fabricated the actual product.
Ramsey estimates that the tool saves dozens of hours each year, and in some cases, has saved the Village thousands of dollars. “We once had a water main break in the middle of the night and we needed to valve down the area,” tells Ramsey. “We found the two valves that we needed to shut off - one was a valve vault and the other a valve box. The valve vault had water in it and at night we could not see the the valve nut. We used the LUKey, which illuminated the valve vault, and then we were able to see the nut and turn off the water. In that instance, we did not have to dig up the valve vault to shut it off. Having the LUKey saved us time and money and we were able to make the repair and restore water service to the area.”
Ramsey states that they are currently working on a design to have lighted b- box keys for 1 ½” and 2”.
The Westmont Public Work Department estimates that the cost for creating the LUKey is about $80.00. The Village of Westmont will be creating a demonstration video of the product, which will be published on the Westmont YouTube Channel. Congratulations Westmont Public Works for this exciting honor.
Contact: Larry McIntyre
Village of Westmont Communications Director