FL, Explosion at water treatment plant cuts area water pressure

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Explosion at water treatment plant cuts area water pressure From staff reports

DAYTONA BEACH - An explosion and fire at a water treatment plant Monday afternoon knocked out a backup system, reducing water pressure in Daytona Beach and Holly Hill.

No one was injured in the 1:11 p.m. explosion at the Brennan Water Treatment Plant on LPGA Boulevard and the fire was extinguished quickly.

The fire occurred in a transformer room at the plant that is locked and maintained by Florida Power & Light Co., said Stan Lemke, public works director.

"The fire caused the transformer to go out, so we lost power in the treatment plant," Lemke said. "We have backup generators. They came on right away like they were supposed to, but something happened in the fire that made them unable to interface with the pumps."

One pump started immediately, but other pumps took longer to get on line, he said. Pressure in the water system started to drop.

However, the pumps began working before pressure triggered an order to boil water for safety, Lemke said. The lowest pressure recorded was 30 psi (pounds per square inch), while a boil-water order is required for a psi reading of 20 or lower.

"At this point our generator system and our pumps are operating normally on emergency power," Lemke said about 3:30 p.m. "We can do that forever. But FPL crews are on site. They expect they will have the transformer and wiring restored by 8 o'clock tonight."

City officials had begun to notify local news media shortly after the fire.

"It was one of those things that initially you don't know what to expect, so you take extreme caution and provide ultimate notification, but by the time the first notification went out we solved the problem," Lemke said.


-- Doris (number9@mindspring.com), May 23, 2000

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