Published Aug. 28, 2020
From General Manager Jonathan Penrose’s report to the YLOA Board of Directors:
○ In August, we experienced a total failure on well 36A that supplies water to tank 4 and serves the lower Long Hollow area. Due to high demand, we had previously installed a bypass to provide extra water to this tank from other parts of the system. This was fortuitous as when the well failed, we were able to double the capacity of the bypass. This was insufficient to meet total demand in the service area and emergency action was needed. The emergency was exacerbated by high heat and demand across the entire system that was more than 40% of the demand last August.
○ While waiting for parts for 36A, we used the opportunity of having the drilling/pump crew available to perform an emergency pump replacement on well 35A. Performance of the pump had declined over recent years due primarily to iron deposits and was only producing at about 16 GPM. The pump was replaced and went back into service on 8/18. Production improved to 63 GPM helping us meet the high demand across the park that was worsening with 36A out of production.
○ We put out an alert asking all residents to conserve water and went door to door in the Long Hollow area to inform residents that outside watering needed to be suspended for the remainder of the week to ensure there was adequate supply for internal household use.
○ While the tank levels dropped to 6’, which is considered to be critical (and were dropping at up to 4’ per day), the notices and cooperation from the residents, along with the bypass previously installed, allowed us to maintain tank levels and gradually increase it to above 10’ – still critical, but not an immediate emergency that could necessitate shutting down service to protect the system from damage.
○ Repairs on both wells have now been complete. It will take some time for tank levels to return to normal, but due to the quick action of our water crew and well vendor (and cooperation and understanding of our residents), we were able to get the repairs done quickly without a service interruption.
○ During this period, we also experienced a main line break on Limestone. Our crew responded quickly and efficiently – identifying the location of the break and preventing substantial water loss that would have severely affected the entire system, due to the already low system levels from the high demand and pump failure at 36A
○ Additionally, we battled tough working conditions with high heat and poor air quality.
○ Kudos to our teams for their quick response and professional action that kept our community from experiencing a service disruption.
○ The total cost for emergency repairs is approximately $85,000 and should serve as a reminder that are ageing water infrastructure needs continued pro-active investment.
○ Presently, our water operations generate enough revenue to cover the day-to-day costs of providing service and keeping the water flowing, but they are not sufficient to fund the replacement of everything that needs to be proactively fixed, much less add additional storage or production capacity.
○ The SCADA system which is presently being deployed will allow us to better monitor and more efficiently operate the system – creating some financial efficiencies that we will reinvest.