The mild winter weather has been good to a lot of towns and organizations this year, as they have been allowed to perform the construction that might have been halted by colder, wetter weather patterns. For one such municipality, the current temperatures have allows crews to begin pouring the concrete that will soon be a series of flood walls along the side of a nearby river as part of a plant upgrade.
These walls are being built to protect the water treatment plant. Pumps capable of removing 18,000 gallons of water are in place. The walls will add another level of protection. This comes after a hard lesson learned. Several years ago, flood waters rose high enough to overwhelm the waste water treatment plant and carried the unsanitary waters into the drinking water reservoirs. This resulted in the need for a long term boil notice for the local residents and commercial properties. One can imagine the frustration that the local population faced.
The concrete walls will certainly help prevent future issues. Proper controls and alerts should also be installed to ensure that the maintenance crew is made aware of potential problems before they reach such drastic levels. Level indicators, for instance, like the PMC Surface Water submersible transmitter, could be placed in the waste water culverts and would provide operators a clear picture of high the waters are at any given moment. It would also indicate the amount of flood water entering those culverts during substantial storms. This would allow them to make decisions about the operation of the pumps.
Obviously, this municipality is taking the actions necessary to prevent future problems, and that could very well make life easier for the residents should flood waters rise again. We do hope others learn from the experiences of operations like this.