Guest Commentary: A breakdown of Sunday's storm event on Marco Island

At 6 a.m. on Sunday power to the Island failed. The Marco Island Water & Sewer Department has systems and procedures in place to ensure the potable water distribution system pressure is maintained and wastewater is contained in the collection system.

The treatment plants have emergency backup generators. These generators allow the plants to function under full capacity.

The morning of June 24 emergency backup power generators at the North Water Plant (NWP), Reclaimed Water Production Facility, South Water Plant (SWP), and Marco Shores Wastewater Treatment Plant automatically maintained power at the treatment facilities when the normal power source failed.

Utility staff immediately responded to the emergency to ensure the potable water distribution and sewage collection needs of both the Island and Shores systems were met.

The drinking water system maintained pressure during all times. At the time of the power failure the amount of water processed and ready for distribution was sufficient to meet consumer demands and staff discontinued production at the SWP. Both the NWP and the SWP continued to supply consumer flows.

Unrelated to the power failure a computerized mother board at the Raw Water facility failed during this event causing a communication failure from the Raw Water facility. Staff took this in stride and responded to that issue as well.

The wastewater collection system lost power to all lift stations with the exception of the Master Lift Station. The Master Lift Station has a stationary emergency backup generator. This generator automatically went into the emergency power mode.

Utility Staff deployed 13 portable emergency generators to the major lift stations on the island. The system was inundated with high level alarms.

Staff called in a vacuum truck/septic truck hauler to help move sewage from stations with high levels and no power to stations that had auxiliary power.

The hauler contacted is under contract with the City for both routine and emergency service. The services render by the public/private partnership for Sunday's event totaled $7,800.

The island's power was restored at approximately 2 p.m. Once the power was returned staff disconnected emergency power to the lift stations and water and wastewater systems went back to normal operating procedures.

Personnel across several City Departments were called into help in this emergency situation.

Your utility workers are the silent sentinels of our community. Their efforts go unnoticed by design; however, in this situation those actions should be recognition as they "weathered the storm" to help protect the health and safety of this community.

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Comments » 3

cribguy writes:

Short video of the storm.

marcofriend writes:

If all was well at 2pm, why was there a truck pumping sewage at the lift station in front of the Town Center by Dunkin' Donuts at 4:30pm? We now have more lift stations than any municipality of a city of our size and we still haven't added the Estates yet. God help us when we have our next hurricane...............

At least we got the new Sewer plant built no matter what the cost.

happyhorowitz34145 writes:

Poteet, what are you looking for? A pat on the back for doing your job?
Before you came along, utility workers of all kinds, have been working before,during,and after storms like this and worse storms than this, for centuries.

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