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In case the news hasn't made it to wherever you are, the state of Iowa got hit with a powerful derecho on Monday morning. It's being compared to an inland hurricane, and for good reason -- the wind gusts were measurable at nearly 100 mph and came with extraordinary driving rains. The crop damage probably covers 10 million acres, or about a third of the state. It was intense.
Power went out (and with it, most Internet access) and it is still being repaired (ours just came back tonight). Cedar Rapids, the second-largest city in the state and a major industrial center, is reeling even worse than we are in Des Moines.
So, if we've been a little slow to get back to you this week...that's why. Things are going to take some time to get back to normal, but we're working overtime to get back up to speed. As always, we are here to serve the public water sector in whatever ways we can.
As of 5:00 this afternoon, MidAmerican Energy has resumed service to almost all of the customers who lost power in last Monday's derecho, but there are still 65,000 customers of Alliant Energy still waiting for the lights to come back on. It's hard to convey just how bad the storm was -- the official figures are pretty dry, but the videos are not. It was (and remains) a major catastrophe. Resuming utility service is of course a critical matter -- you can't rebuild without water, power, and sewers. If you haven't reviewed our presentation on backup pumping systems, please do take a look before you work on your next station installation.
If you in Eastern Iowa and were counting on portable generators to keep a lift station running for a week or more, you're probably facing incredible bills for overtime labor and challenges finding diesel by this point. And redundant grid access probably wouldn't have done much good either -- not with a damage path at least 100 miles wide and easily visible from space.
Remember that engines are an allowable backup option under Iowa and Ten States Standards. A fixed engine backup powered by natural gas can stay in service indefinitely without the need for constant babysitting and refueling. It's also worth noting that an engine backup can work even if the station were to, for example, take a direct hit from lightning that wiped out the control panel. If you have an ignition key, you can start an engine. This is why so many communities have chosen Gorman-Rupp's Auto-Start lift stations. For comparable (and often even lower) total cost than a station with a fixed generator backup, you can have a fully-integrated engine backup always standing ready at your lift station, prepared to instantaneously take over if the power goes out.
The cost of maintenance is very real -- as it has been put elsewhere, "If you don't put maintenance on your schedule, your equipment will schedule it for you." It's essential to set aside both time and money to do the job right.
But if you can simplify your equipment so that there are fewer moving parts and fewer items requiring regular attention, you can take big strides towards reducing the cost of maintenance (and as a result, reducing the total cost of ownership).
Hoffman has made a big step in that direction with the new Revolution Plus line of turbo blower. These blowers deliver a wide range of speeds using an innovative drive system that delivers extended bearing life and extremely low maintenance costs (with just one moving part), and their high efficiency can deliver energy savings of up to 40%. For most wastewater treatment plants, that could mean a giant reduction in operating expenses.
Contact us with your questions or to schedule an aeration audit to find out whether these or other Hoffman blowers are right for your plant.