Are You Prepared for Spring Floods? PeopleService Experts Plan to Protect
Last spring saw record river levels and major flooding across the Midwest. As levels continue to stay higher than average, PeopleService is prepared for the threat of more potential events in the spring of 2020.
“Most plants are by their nature, near to water and while you cannot do much about the level of your building, there are steps you can take now to prepare for a flooding event,” says PeopleService Director of Operational Programs Mike Adair.
“The first thing is to know your river levels and flood stages. The Corps of Engineers give real-time river levels for your location and you need to know when you need to take action. While we monitor this for all our clients, it’s vital if you are an independent system.
“Have all contractors – well companies, electricians etc … on speed dial. Have sandbags ready with the Fire Department. March is the highest risk period as ice jams release while water is being released from the north.”
Nebraska Region Manager Duane Grashorn was at the center of such events last spring in Valley and Waterloo. “The reality is you can’t stop such an event, but you need to ensure that you’re ready to react if floods occur,” he says.
“At PeopleService we have a three-pronged approach when floods threaten either the water supply or wastewater facilities.
“The first is securing access. Last spring, we needed airboats and in one case a railway trolley to access some of our plants, as roads were cut off. You need to be ready to access your facilities no matter what the conditions.
“Second is Assessment. If the problem is pumps in a wastewater plant for example, you need to have gasoline powered pumps at hand to avoid back-ups. In an emergency such as last spring, we had pumps in numerous locations that we could move into affected areas rapidly.
“If the issue is a contaminated well which is the sole supply for your system – and you haven’t been able to protect it with sandbags – then you need boil water notices ready to go. At PeopleService, we also have bottled water suppliers ready as a contaminated well has to be flushed and tested before being put back in commission.
“And the third element is to ensure you have your emergency plans up to date covering all the eventualities. Again, this is standard for all PeopleService clients,” says Duane.
Beyond that, Mike adds, “it pays to analyze carefully when replacing equipment, either damaged or obsolete. Look to replace and rebuild above the flood stage whenever you can. Wells are classic examples of elements that can be raised. And anytime you are upgrading equipment examine the options for making it flood proof.”