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Posted on: May 31, 2019

New emergency alert system, fuel resiliency highlight CFPUA’s hurricane prep

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As the 2019 hurricane season gets underway, CFPUA is launching a new emergency alert system for its customers, one of several major initiatives aimed at increasing preparations for major storms and other events that could disrupt service.

The new alert service – CivicReady, powered by Regroup – allows customers to sign up for customizable alerts in the event of an emergency that may affect their water or wastewater services. Alerts can be delivered by email, text message, and/or voice telephone call. They also can be delivered in one of several languages.

The service is free and can be modified or canceled at any time. Sign up today at: CFPUA.org/CivicReady.

Meanwhile, CFPUA staff have spent the last several months since Hurricane Florence struck taking steps to prepare for future storms.

Florence caused major damage and disruption in Southeastern North Carolina, dumping more than 23 inches of rain in the Wilmington area and leaving the community essentially isolated. Many residents lost commercial electrical power for a number of days. Several ran out of gasoline.

Even so, fewer than half a dozen CFPUA customers were without water or wastewater service, despite some close calls involving access to fuel for backup generators and a washout of U.S. Highway 421 in northwestern New Hanover County that threatened a raw water line. In addition, significant flooding from Florence contributed to a number of sanitary sewer overflows.

Major steps taken by CFPUA since Florence include:

Increasing fuel self-sufficiency: CFPUA has purchased its own 2,800-gallon fuel truck, added saddle tanks to trucks, and increased onsite storage capacity at a number of strategic locations. Just at treatment plants, CFPUA is expanding its fuel storage capability by 20 percent to 60,000 gallons. Other storage is or will be in place for pump stations and well sites.

CFPUA staff have been certified or are in the process of being certified to operate the fuel truck. In addition, the contract with our emergency fuel supplier now stipulates that the contractor must have an onsite backup generator to provide power if commercial power is lost.

Replacing generators at the Southside Wastewater Treatment Plant (SWTP): During Florence, the failure of generators at the SWTP resulted in the bypass of partially treated wastewater to the plant’s outfall. Work is underway to replace those generators and should be complete by July 31.

CFPUA also has begun setting up and testing its emergency operations center (EOC) at Sweeney Water Treatment Plant. CFPUA staff use the EOC to coordinate operations during events that may result in major, widespread disruption of service.


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