Staff from MidCoast Water, NSW recently worked through an extended blackout to ensure that essential sewer and water services were maintained.
The power outage which affected most of the MidCoast Water service area on Sunday the 16th of March and continued in the Gloucester supply area throughout Monday, meant staff had to manually monitor infrastructure to ensure the continuation of services and protect the environment from the potential of sewer spills.
In the height of the power outage, MidCoast Water crews were dealing with loss of power in parts of Taree, Wingham, Gloucester, Bulahdelah, Stroud, Hawks Nest, Tea Gardens, Smiths Lake and Pacific Palms.
The sewage pump stations and treatment plants are normally monitored electronically, however the loss of power meant that MidCoast Water staff had to physically check on the pump stations and monitor them to ensure they did not back up with sewage and cause any spills before pumps were able to be turned back on.
“We had pump trucks on standby to allow us to empty any of the pump stations that were getting too full,” general manager Robert Loadsman explained.
These pumps were first deployed to the most environmentally sensitive areas of Smiths Lake and Pacific Palms, and when power was restored were then moved to Nabiac and then on to Taree.
“Given the duration of the power outage and the widespread nature of it, we are most proud of the efforts of our staff which ensured no sewage overflows occurred during this testing time.”
In the case of Gloucester there were no phone communications and staff had to travel from site to site to speak to each other and monitor the situation. A diesel generator on Thunderbolt’s Way ensured the water supply to Barrington was able to continue during the outage.
At Tuesday’s monthly board meeting, the chairperson of MidCoast Water, Cr David West, and his fellow councillors made a special mention of the efforts of staff, congratulating them on “a job well done”.