August 13, 2007

DrainageNews - Archaic power vital to system - Times Picayune

Instead, power to the facility was cut off when water pouring through a breach in the 17th Street Canal snaked its way to the Sewerage & Water Board's own power plant on South Claiborne Avenue, forcing it to shut down for the first time in more than 100 years. As in the drainage system, about half of the motors that drive parts of the drinking water system — namely giant pumps that that suck raw water from the Mississippi River and smaller pumps that propel water toward homes across the city — run on the old-fashioned electricity, said Marvin Russell, the superintendent of water purification. But as a backup measure, that equipment also can be run by the S&WB power plant using a "frequency changer" that converts 25-cycle electricity into 60-cycle power, Russell said. Martin has said the water board needs both kinds of power because its oldest — and in some cases most powerful — equipment predates the modern power grid and runs only on 25-cycle power. Though experts have criticized the heavy dependence on 25-cycle power, which they say is more likely to fail during ordinary use, water board leaders contend that using both kinds of power creates redundancy that improves the drainage and water systems' reliability. read me

[Tags]water, power, money, , electricity, plant, drainagenews[/Tags]

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