Utilities Board powers up

Published 5:09 pm Monday, November 7, 2005

By By Adam Prestridge
The City of Atmore continues to better prepare itself for natural disasters.
Thursday, the Atmore Utilities Board received its new Kohler 60 kilowatt, selectable-phase portable generator, which will help keep the city's lift stations up an running should there be a long-term power outage.
"We've got two other portable generators that we use for the same reason," wastewater superintendent Kenny Smith said. "They're 20 years old and the maintenance continues to become an issue. Knowing that they're that old is the reason why we bought this new one."
The new generator wasn't cheap with a ticket price of just more than $26,000. The selectable phase capability of the generator allows it to be used at 120 volts, single phase or three phases, which can push 220 volts or 480 volts. A home can be run off 120 volts.
"We're still waiting to hear from the EMA (Emergency Management Agency) in hopes of getting five more generators. They will be permanently mounted. Some of these generators are big enough to run the complete water plants."
The city has four water tanks, which could be fully operational with additional generators. Atmore currently pays a fee to stay on top of Kohler's list for loaner generators in the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster.
"If EMA comes through, we won't have to do that," Smith said. "Three out of the five will completely run the tanks as if there was power. The other two will be permanently set at the lift stations."
Smith also said it will be good for the city to have another generator of its own that is dependable in case it has to be loaned out. Atmore has borrowed generators in the past and will be happy to now return the favor.
"We first and foremost want to provide for our community, but we don't mind going outside and helping our neighbors," Smith said. "Hopefully we won't have to use it for ourselves and help others with it. If we are hit, we will have the capabilities to get back up and running."

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