Generators to be installed at Valdosta lift stations

Received Wednesday. Presumably these are the ten generators approved by the Valdosta City Council December 6, 2018, along with a SCADA system (the “city-wide control system”) so they’ll know the status of their distributed equipment, for a total of around half a million dollars. Also note that not included is a generator for the big force main lift station on Gornto Road, because that one would apparently cost around a million dollars. Maybe there is state or federal funding available for that. Hm, I’d think resuming weekly water quality testing, including at the state line, would cost much less than any of this. So Valdosta could do both again, as it has for years before it ceased weekly testing this year.

Generators To Be Installed At Ten Lift Stations, by Azhia Smothers, Wednesday, February 27, 2019 9:55:00 AM,

The City of Valdosta Utilities Department will be placing ten generators at lift stations around the city. The generators will help to ensure that the city experiences fewer power outages which can sometimes result in sewer spills. Recently, the first generator was installed at the pump station at Hyde Park. All ten generators will be installed before the upcoming hurricane season.

In the event of a power outage that occurs for more than an hour, a lift station would lose pumping capabilities, which could ultimately lead to a sewer spill. The new generators are designed to take the place of utility power. It will automatically turn on and run as long as it is needed. The generator can run normal pump usage for up to 3 or 4 days on one tank of fuel. The Utilities Department also has the capability of refueling in-house in order to cut down on time spent having to wait on fuel.

These generators were built locally at Powerhouse Diesel Generators and can run for 30 years without needing major maintenance. “It is standard equipment and state of the art digital controls that we can actually work on. They’re not locked down so we don’t need a manufacturer to come out and troubleshoot it for us. If we do need help, Powerhouse is right here,” said Thomas Hess, Central Maintenance Superintendent.

The benefit of having the generators at the pump stations is to be proactive instead of reactive during storms or power outage events. One of the city’s short term goals is to have no sewer spills and these generators will help with that. “I’ve been with the city for 9 years and since I’ve been here, we’ve been working on plans for major improvements. This has been a goal of mine since I manage the pump stations, but the city is going all out to manage the sewer spills. It’s a non-stop process,” said Hess. “It’s a huge step forward in reliability and safety for the citizens of Valdosta.”

Emergency cell phones are built into the lift stations so if there is a power outage, the pump station mechanics will be notified and the generator will come on and take the place of the power. The Utilities Department is also in the process of purchasing a city-wide control system so all of the mechanics will be able to check on stations via cell phone.

If you have any questions, please call the Utilities Department at 229-259-3594.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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2 thoughts on “Generators to be installed at Valdosta lift stations

  1. SS

    > “Hm, I’d think resuming weekly water quality testing, including at the state line, would cost much less than any of this.”

    It probably would cost much less, but it would also just be monitoring the problems, not fixing them. Water quality monitoring doesn’t provide infrastructure stability and redundancy the same way that generators do….. So if it truly is one or the other, like you suggest, I’d rather see the generators.

    1. jsq Post author

      It’s not one or the other: they’ve been doing both for years, until this year.
      We need both because Valdosta’s previous weekly testing demonstrated things
      get into the rivers even when there are no spills, and their testing helped
      indicate how far down the rivers and how fast the spills go. -jsq

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