Massachusetts - Wastewater Treatment Plant struck by Y2k bug : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

(I wonder how the other 50,000 non-compliant plants are faring?)

Y2K bug visits Hadley


Thursday, January 13, 2000 -- (HADLEY) - Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the sewers, the Y2K bug has struck.

Software used to process data and create reports at the town's wastewater treatment plant has experienced a Y2K failure, Sewer Superintendent Dennis Pipczynski reported to Sewer Commissioner's at a meeting Tuesday night.

Pipczynski said there was no danger of uncontrolled sewage discharge. "It does not affect the running of the plant," he said.

He said the plants TREDAT software, which has not been upgraded since 1988, has shown the date '1900' since the new year, and that all files entered into it since 1988 are now irretrievable.

A Y2K failure results when a computer, which has been programmed to read only the last two numbers of a year, interprets the zeros in the year 2000 as 1900, resulting in the possible loss or misreading of information.

At last fall's special Town Meeting, Town Administrator Robin Crosbie assured residents that all town computers were Y2K compliant - that is, programmed to read the year 2000.

Pipczynski said that all of the computers in the sewer plant were running with no problems, but that the TREDAT software system, which is used to process all sewer data, and creates reports to send to the state each month, was not Y2K prepared.

Among other functions, the system calculates lab tests, inches of rainfall and the pH and other conditions of sewer plant water. He said that it is mandated that the state receive a report of these results on the 10th of each month, and that if a report is not sent, it may result in a fine against the town.

For this month, Pipczynski calculated the test results himself using a Microsoft Excel program, but he said it was essential that the TREDAT program be upgraded, as it is designed especially for sewer plants, and the upgrade is necessary to retrieve currently inaccessible data from previous years.

He said the upgrade will cost $2,300, which, after some complaining, the Sewer Commission agreed to allocate from its building funds. Pipczynski told commissioners he has known about the potential problem for months.

In response to commissioners complaints about Pipczynski's delay in bringing it to their attention, he said he asked the software manufacturer about the problem all summer, but that they had not responded to him until November.

His formal request for the new software did not go in until late December.

John Martin, a manager of TREDAT, in Boston, said Wednesday the Y2K upgrade was not available until November.

Amherst Sewer Supervisor Robert Pariseau said Amherst's treatment plant also uses the TREDAT software and has had no problems this year. But they had purchased the Y2K upgrade.

GazetteNet - Pioneer Valley news - Northampton, Massachusetts

-- Lee Maloney (, January 23, 2000


Url to article above ("Y2K bug visits Hadley")

-- Lee Maloney (, January 23, 2000.

Thanks, Lee. This article raises one of my pet peeves/concerns about y2k. How many of last year's rosy announcements of y2k compliance were based on software or hardware that had not been or could not be obtained at the time of the announcement?

-- Brooks (, January 24, 2000.

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