Streamline - Spring 2015 - (Page 5)
BY PAM BAUGHMAN, VRWA PRESIDENT
ON OCT. 14, 2014,
I was offered the position of General Manager of Louisa County Water Authority
(LCWA). It was a position I had wanted for many years and I was thrilled for the opportunity.
the call, I
this can't be
in my first
I felt everything was going along just fine when on
Jan. 8, 2015, at approximately 5:45 a.m., an alarm was
received by Zion Crossroads Wastewater Treatment
Plant staff that a power failure had occurred. When
staff reported to the plant the entire plant was without
power and the two main disconnects/breakers had
tripped, the heater in the main Motor Control Center
(MCC) was not working and the exhaust fan was
running. It was an extremely cold and windy night
with a temperature upon arrival at the plant was 7°F.
When I received the call, I couldn't help but think:
this can't be happening in my first trimester!
Staff tried varying methods to restore power with
no results. At 6:40 a.m. our electrical contractor was
called and notified.
The electrician arrived onsite at 7:30 a.m., the
voltages and phases from Dominion Virginia Power
and the on-site generator were checked and both
were correct. The electrician continued his assessment by troubleshooting the switchgear and opening
electrical manholes to find many with water levels
submerging electrical lines. Rain/ground water had
accumulated in some of the manholes over time submersing some or all of the electrical wiring. While
this isn't uncommon with buried electrical banks, the
decision was made to pump the manholes and dry the
lines. The electricians also found a bad thermostat
for the heater in the main electrical building that
would not allow the heater to operate and caused
the exhaust fan to run.
During this time, LCWA's sludge truck pumped
down the wet well and hauled it to our equalization
basins and offloaded there, and in all, four loads
were pumped and hauled.
LCWA staff pumped out the electrical manholes,
the electrician used a generator and blowers in addition to an LCWA blower unit to help dry the cables
and manholes; and replaced the bad heater thermostat. Once the electrical work was complete Wesley
Basore, Wastewater Operations Manager and staff
brought the Zion Crossroads Wastewater Treatment
Plant individual buildings, MCC, equipment and
SCADA back online. Most of the buildings and
equipment were back online by 2 p.m., with SCADA
and several other pieces of equipment back online
by 5 p.m.
It has been determined that two separate incidents
occurred and either individually or the combination
of the two caused the outage. The first was the submerged electrical lines created a ground fault condition and/or two the bad heater thermostat causing
condensation to form in the main electrical building
service disconnects which froze causing a ground
fault to the service disconnects, leaving the plant
As a backup plan, LCWA had an additional sludge
truck on stand-by and a large pump in Richmond on
stand-by. There were no overflows and early testing
indicated the biological integrity of the plant was not
compromised during this event.
The LCWA staff worked all day in single digit
weather to bring positive closure to this situation. I
cannot say enough good things about these hardworking, knowledgeable dedicated utility workers.
I consider myself blessed to work side by side with
such wonderful people. I am proud, honored and
humbled to call each and everyone my coworker
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Spring 2015
From the President: Power Failure
From the Executive Director: Highlights from 2014
The Sustainability Managed Utility
Communication… Say What?
Flushing Away the Ebola Threat
Hazard Communication Standards – Guidelines for OSHA Compliance
State Water Control Board Approves Controversial Permit
VRWA Said Goodbye to Past Executive Director
USDA Rural Development
The RATES Program
Adequate Rates versus Affordability
Debt Refinancing: An Alternate Source of Capital
How the Cloud is Revolutionizing the Future of Water Utility Management
Southern Corrosion Supports Victory Junction
Throwing My Loop: Call Me Anytime
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefits Are?
Board of Directors
Index to Advertisers/ Ad.com
Streamline - Spring 2015