Damage is likely in the $3 million range for the Lima Wastewater Treatment Plant after a lightning strike knocked power and backup generators offline
Although water/wastewater treatment facilities take great care to safeguard against storms and power outages, a recent lightning strike in Lima, Ohio, proves that no plant is invulnerable to bad luck.
After lightning struck its main switchgear directly, the Lima Wastewater Treatment Plant lost power and was shut down as several feet of stormwater flooded the city and caused at least $3 million in damage. Water was reportedly up to 13 feet deep in some areas of the plant.
The Lima plant has two diesel generators on standby to provide backup power for situations like these, but damage to the switchgear mechanism prevented them from activating.
“We were pretty much dead in the water, literally,” Utilities Director Michael Caprella told The Lima News. “At no time did we flood the community at all because it made it to this plant, but once it got here, we couldn’t pump it out.”
After approximately five hours, utility workers managed to install temporary pumps powered by generators, which allowed the plant to treat the water before releasing it as effluent into the Ottawa River.
But the process of repairing damage to the plant is just beginning. The city has insurance, so it won’t be responsible for the bulk of the repair costs. In the meantime, the plant is running and is capable of sufficiently treating wastewater, according to an inspector.
“We’ve had crews working almost around the clock to keep things going and to clean up, and a lot of cleanup needs to take place,” Caprella told The Lima News.
Source: The Lima News