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Montgomery water chief disputes Navy report; other cities also cited
By ASHLEY ESTES The Associated Press 08/20/99 3:12 PM Eastern
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- The general manager of the Montgomery Water Works on Friday disputed a Navy report listing the city's water system as a probable candidate for partial failure because of Year 2000 technology problems, calling it "a terrible disservice."
Meanwhile, the report also cited three other Alabama cities as being in similar shape -- or worse.
Bessemer was listed as a "likely" candidate for partial failure of electric, water and sewer service and a "probable" candidate for partial loss of gas service. Wetumpka was in the "likely" category for partial loss of water service.
Mobile was in the "probable" category for water and gas service. Huntsville was the only Alabama city listed where any partial failure was deemed unlikely. The study did not list Birmingham.
All the Navy's worst-case predictions, however, were marked as "interim" or "pending" response, meaning information from the military facilities was only an interim update or that information was not yet available.
Bessemer and Wetumpka were both marked as "pending," while Mobile, Montgomery and Huntsville were all "interim" responses.
The Year 2000 problem could occur because some computer programs, especially older ones, might fail to recognize the date when it changes to 2000. Because only the last two digits are read, some computers could translate the "00" as meaning 1900. The glitch could cause problems with financial transactions, airline schedules and other computer-related industries.
The Navy study, last updated less than two weeks ago, measured 400 cities serving Navy and Marine Corps facilities.
In Montgomery, the water works general manager, Buddy Morgan, said no one had visited or contacted his agency to inquire about its Y2K readiness. So far, he said, the agency has had four successful drills, which included rolling its computers forward to 2000 to see what happened. The company began testing and evaluating its computer system a year and a half ago.
"The Navy has done a terrible disservice, not only to our agency and our city, but to the others named in the article if they did not visit these agencies or even call on them," Morgan said.
"We can assure the citizens of Montgomery that the Montgomery Water Works is ready for the year 2000," he said. "We have completed extensive and thorough reviews of our system and have all the back-up equipment and materials to deliver all the water and sewer services that our customers would demand."
If the worst did happen, the company could go back to monitoring water flow by hand, "like we did in the '60s," Morgan said. Now, computers in each plant monitor and record the water flow.
The Navy report was previously available on a Web site maintained by the Department of Defense, but was pulled off two weeks ago. Officials did not say wh
-- Charli Claypool (email@example.com), August 20, 1999
egads... this may work very well. I feel a little sorry for the Navy, they were doing their duty. But this may push the press to start asking harder questions. Maybe they'll even dig a little.
If the worst did happen, the company could go back to monitoring water flow by hand,
yes...and what is the population you service now as opposed to the '60s?
-- Michael Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 20, 1999.
What a bunch of bull.
"We can assure the citizens of Montgomery that the Montgomery Water Works is ready for the year 2000,"
Yeah, "ready" but not "compliant". Sounds like they're screwed.
-- (email@example.com), August 20, 1999.