The city could spend between $750,000 and $1 million on an emergency generator for the Water Treatment Plant.
The city will likely begin seeking requests for proposals this fall, and work at the plant, 201 Eagle City Road, is expected to be completed by the end of next year.
“We want it just in case there’s ever a power outage,” said Chris Moore, the city’s service director. “This is something that’s been looked at for several years.”
The city supplies water to approximately 85,000 residents in Springfield and Clark County.
In the case of a natural disaster, the city doesn’t want a disruption in supplying water to residents or businesses. They also need the generators to help supply water to emergency response teams in case of a large fire.
Lisa D’Allesandris, director of the Clark County Emergency Management Agency, said a generator at the Water Treatment Plant is “extremely important” in emergency situations.
She said the city has also been very generous allowing county fire departments to fill up tankers in an emergency. The city’s water is also potable, or allowing it to be transported to needy residents.
“With the generator, it’s a continuous, uninterrupted service for both the city and outside agencies as well,” D’Allesandris said.
The generator has been in the budget for a few years, but other upgrades have been made to prepare for the installation.
Citizens are currently in no danger of losing water in the case of an emergency because the plant is powered by two separate grids, Moore said.
“We have that redundancy built in to make sure the water supply isn’t interrupted,” Moore said.
Two years ago, the city completed moving the electric from the well fields to the water plant underground.
“A car can’t hit the pole and lightning can’t strike it,” Moore said. “(The generator) is just one more layer of redundancy to make sure we don’t go without power (to the water plant).”
The plant also recently installed high-service water pumps. The service department waited to purchase the generator until those were installed to make sure it met the plant’s needs.
“It’s a generator that’s going to fit into our plant’s operations for many years to come,” Moore said.
The city will seek bids for a 2-megawatt generator with an alternate bid for a 2.25-megawatt generator. The generator will be large enough to service the entire plant if there’s a large electrical outage.
“We know we need a 2-megawatt, but if the prices are good on a 2.25-megawatt generator, we know it would serve us well,” Moore said.
Other city facilities, including City Hall, the City Service Center and the Wastewater Treatment Plant among others, have emergency generators, but the Water Plant was built without one.
“When there are traffic lights and trees going down, you don’t want to have to worry about one of the plants going down,” Moore said. “Those can have a tremendous impact on everyone.”
The City Service Center was without power for five days during the 2008 windstorm and used its generator to power fuel pumps emergency vehicles among others.
“This building is pretty critical in an emergency,” Moore said. “It’s been a lifesaver.”
By the numbers
85,000: Approximate number of residents who receive water from the city.
$750,000: Approximate cost of the city’s emergency generator for the Water Treatment Plant.
2-2.25 Megawatts: Approximate amount of power the generator will produce, keeping the entire plant running in an emergency.