Power Outages Present Concerns for CVWD

Posted by on Jan 12th, 2012 and filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry


At the Tuesday night meeting of the Crescenta Valley Water District, the board of directors discussed replacing the generators at the Arroyo and Berkshire Pump Stations, an issue arising out of concern of losing power, which many Southern Californians experienced during the recent windstorms. In the case of an unexpected emergency, the board felt that it was necessary to upgrade and replace the existing generators.

“There’s no question that we need to have the generators improved,” said Richard Atwater, current president of the Foothill Municipal Water District, who was sitting in on the meeting. “They’re old and especially with the five-day outage we just had this winter, to the degree that you want to have generators that automatically kick on so we don’t have interruptions in service, to me, that makes a lot of sense.”

The current plan calls for sizing the generators from the current recommended 24 cfs(cubic feet per second) at the Arroyo Pump Station to 35 cfs and from the 12 cfs at the Berkshire Pump Station to 15 cfs. An alternative plan involves emergency standby generators, which would provide the advantage of multiple generators should one fail.

“We shouldn’t have just one emergency generator. You’ve got three pumps, make it at least two emergency generators,” said CVWD Board Member Ken Putnam. “Even though you test it once a week or once a month, when emergencies come, they don’t always work. It was shown to many people that they don’t always work beautifully, particularly when they get older.”

One of the current generators at the Arroyo Pump Station is nearing 40 years old. In addition, due to a failure of the manual synchronizing controls, only one generator can be operated at a time, limiting the overall station flow.

“It’s important to have your emergency plan as finely honed as possible,” said CVWD General Manager Dennis Erdman.

The Crescenta Valley Water District and the Foothill Municipal Water District are working together on this project and this plan for replacing the generators will be proposed to the FMWD board at their Jan. 17 meeting. If approved, Phase II of the plan can proceed, which involves reviewing the feasibility of sizing the generators larger and/or adding emergency standby generators.

Until then, all notions of cost are uncertain. The water district was criticized by some customers for proposed rate increases this winter and some of the board members were worried about extra costs that new generators could incur.

It is anticipated that should the project be approved on Jan. 17, the designs would not be finished until June or July and that the costs of the generators may be stretched out over a period of two years to minimize cost impacts and perhaps keep the district from having to raise rates. However, much of the financial discussion is still up in the air.

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