Rebuilding After a Disaster: Turning a Bad Situation into an Opportunity to Make Electrical Safety Improvements


In February 2011, construction had just begun on a planned electrical safety improvement project at the East Bay Municipal Utility District's (EBMUD's) Walnut Creek raw water pumping plants (WCPPs 1 and a pair of) when the electrical substation powering the facility was destroyed by a fault. This was followed a month later by a flood that utterly filled the building that houses WCPPs one and a pair of, submerging six massive synchronous motors, pumps, and related electrical distribution equipment. These nearly simultaneous catastrophic events dramatically expanded and redefined the scope of the planned work. An immediate priority was to rebuild the electrical substation inside twelve months therefore that the district might restore power to the undamaged WCPP 3 to satisfy the anticipated summer pumping demands. A longer-term priority was to completely rebuild the pumps and motors and replace the station service motor control centers (MCCs); switchgear lineups; controls; and therefore the heating, ventilation, and air-con system at WCPPs 1 and 2 inside the next twenty four months. This article presents how these 2 incidents occurred and discusses how they were became an enhanced safety design opportunity.

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