Environmental Development Partners, LLC (EDP), a contract operator of water and wastewater facilities, knows that providing water and sewer service to the communities they serve is mission critical. In the event of a power outage, pumping stations and other infrastructure rely on standby generators. EDP also recognizes that a professional maintenance program must be followed to ensure that emergency power equipment will function as intended at the time it is needed most, and that subsequent failure during testing-or startup-is not an option. As a result, EDP selected Worldwide Power Products (WPP) to provide its best-practices maintenance and testing services for 22 standby units that EDP oversees.
“In the water industry, generators provide backup power in the absence of product availability from the main utility provider,” says EDP Area Manager Jim Ferguson. “If a facility’s main-line power is lost and the generator doesn’t come on, it is possible that the water service in a Municipal Utility District (MUD) can suspend abruptly. It has to come on, which is why it is so crucial that generators are maintained properly and that someone verifies they are in working order on a continual basis.”
If water facilities can’t function during a power outage, it’s more than a matter of inconvenience, says Ferguson. It literally puts the public’s health at stake. “During Hurricane Ike, there were some utilities in the Houston area that hadn’t purchased generators, and rental units were not readily available,” he says. “Sewage was overflowing into the streets and their communities had no running water.”
Ferguson began working with WPP in July 2012 after discussing WPP’s service offerings with Vice President of Rental and Service Scott Spidle. Initially, WPP’s involvement was limited to responding to interim failures. After several of these incidents-and an ongoing need for backup power once a month (on average) due to miscellaneous wind and rain events-Ferguson decided the 11 MUDs under his management needed a more structured program for maintenance and testing.
WPP recommended a service contract whereby WPP’s certified maintenance staff would come out quarterly and perform its 100-point inspection on each of the 22 generators within these MUDs, including a startup test, and once a year they would replace the fluids and filters in the systems. Any deficiencies that the team identified would be resolved on the spot if they were minor or relayed to Ferguson for approval before any major repair began.
“Having this maintenance program in place is a part of my hurricane preparedness plan, and it allows me to have the confidence to report to each respective MUD’s governing board that their system is ready for a long-term power outage,” says Mr. Ferguson.
Since signing Ferguson’s standby generators for WPP’s preventive maintenance and testing program, Spidle has also met with the other MUD managers at EDP to offer WPP’s services, signing several to the program. (Each manager at EDP selects his or her own maintenance provider.) “Scott worked really hard to obtain our business,” says Ferguson. “No other generator service company is knocking on our doors-not even the ones we were already working with. Scott’s persistence is one of the reasons I switched over to WPP.”
Even before WPP and EDP signed their service agreement, Ferguson says, WPP went above and beyond normal expectations to assist him. “During the Christmas holidays when everyone shuts down, I had a unit that needed service and I called Scott,” says Ferguson. “He sent the WPP service manager out that afternoon to look at the unit, and the next day he had a crew out servicing the equipment. When Scott tells you he is going to do something, he will make it happen-you can count on it. I knew by his confidence in what service WPP could provide that I could rely on their work.”
About the Client
Environmental Development Partners, LLC (EDP) caters to municipal utility districts and privately owned utilities, operating water and wastewater infrastructure on a contract basis, providing services from supplying drinking water and sewer system operation to regulatory compliance and 24-hour emergency response. As of May 2013, EDP provided its services to approximately 60 utilities in the greater Houston area. Locally owned and operated, EDP is recognized for providing professional, innovative and efficient operations service and has been satisfying customers since 2001. For more information, visit www.edpwater.com.