Water District No. 2 unveils backup generator

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By Amber Coulter

Water district officials unveiled Thursday a generator meant to avoid loss of service during emergencies.

The generator was presented to area political figures, water district employees and other visitors at the Glen D. Dalton White Mills Water Treatment Complex on Cave Road in White Mills.

Officials were in a staff meeting when they received a call saying the electricity had gone out in January 2009. They called the electric company and made arrangements to make water available to customers again, said James Jeffries, general manager for Hardin County Water District No. 2.

“We hunkered down and we waited for the power to come back on,” he said.

Electricity was restored at about 7 p.m. Jeffries woke up at about 3 a.m. the next day to a cold house and a call telling him there was a widespread power outage because of the ice storm that was causing a water outage.

Some areas were without water for 24 hours while water district employees worked to get generators in place to get the water treatment complex back online.

Employees worked steadily while the power was out for a week to keep water flowing to the community, Jeffries said.

“It was a miserable time for our customers and we felt partially responsible,” he said.

The generator is meant to make sure the problem is never repeated, Jeffries said. It is designed to automatically start when electricity is lost.

District No. 1 also is getting a backup generator. Both are being paid for by a grant from the Kentucky Department for Local Government from the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Fund, district operating reserves and employee labor.

Operations manager Shaun Youravich said the district has a great operation. It was only missing emergency power.

District officials also showed visitors a portable generator bought in 2010 capable of running a pump station.

Judge-Executive Harry Berry said officials have learned from past experiences and made various efforts to avoid the problems that resulted from the ice storm.

“Obviously, this is an exciting day for us in Hardin County,” he said.

Gary Larimore, executive director of Kentucky Rural Water Association, said the district has great leaders and employees who responded to an important issue.

“That was one of those things I think was a wakeup call for the water industry and the state of Kentucky,” he said.

Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or acoulter@thenewsenterprise.com.