Everyone knows prolonged sub-zero temperatures in Texas and neighboring states is rare and for water facility operators, these temperatures are especially unwelcome as they can cause numerous issues and a lot of stress. This past cold spell brought about some of the worst conditions in the field but showed all of us the commitment operators have to ensuring we do not suffer any repercussions in our own homes. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication.
We’ve compiled a few lessons that we learned during this time from our water facility operators, that will hopefully help others the next time Jack Frost decides to vacation in Texas:
Heat tracing? In Texas?! Who would think a rural water district would need heat tracing on their piping in Texas of all places? You’ll be glad to have made the investment next time Texas freezes over. The cost is generally around $25 for every 10 ft. of heat trace.
For obvious reasons, most of the equipment in the south is not insulated. It’s difficult to insulate piping or tubing that is already installed underground, but going forward, you may want to consider insulating instrument tubing when you install it. It can cost as little as $2 for a 10 ft. stick of foam. It’s an extremely cost-effective way to prepare for *unprecedented* times.
If you already utilize an alarm management system, there is no additional cost to implementing high tank level alarms. Due to the inclement weather and ice, many customers experienced tanks overflowing because their equipment was not shutting off when they became full. If they had set high tank level alarms prior to the winter weather, it would have alerted them to the issue and prevented a spill.
Did you miss critical alarms during the severe winter storm due to your network SCADA system being down due to the power outages? eLynx has a reliable satellite-based solar powered alarm system that can provide backup alarm notifications via email, text or voice call-out. Having redundancy on these critical alarms can give you peace of mind the next time a major winter weather event occurs.