TAMPA, Fla. — People in the Tampa Bay Area know the devastating effects a hurricane can have on a community. The City of Tampa hopes new generators can help improve its infrastructure during hurricane season.
At the Louisiana Pump Station in Tampa, technicians like Calvin George showed exactly how they’re prepared for whatever comes their way.
“When Irma hit, we were really worried about it overflowing and then affecting the environment,” said George, an AWT technician.
Eric Weiss, the Director of the City of Tampa Wastewater Department, said during Hurricane Irma, the city lost electrical power to over 80 wastewater pumping stations.
“When you lose power, it could eventually fill up, and you could have a wastewater overflow into the environment,” said Weiss. “During that time, our technicians had to scramble for over a week transporting generators from pumping station to pumping station, pumping that sewer down and going on to the next one.”
On Monday, city leaders shared the initiatives they have in place now. Since 2017, Weiss said they have a fleet of 64 generators, some of which are stationary, some are portable.
“What we would do if a station loses electrical power from Tampa Electric, we could hook one of those up and transport them to the station to provide power to that station to let it run and hopefully preclude an overflow,” said Weiss.
At the Howard F. Curren Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant, Weiss said they also added a generator and a 75,000-gallon fuel storage tank.
“What that allowed is for us to run five days under full load at the plant without having to refuel, which can be completely necessary if a storm is bad enough,” said Weiss.
City leaders explained how generators are just another way to provide residents with reliable and seamless service.
“What we hold dear is that public health function,” said Weiss.