City personnel say measures have been put in place to prevent this problem in the future.
A progress report was presented on Wednesday to Frederick's Mayor and Board of Aldermen on what has taken place since a sewage spill more than a year ago.
On December 11th, 2011, raw sewage from the City's wastewater treatment plant on Gas House Pike leaked into Carroll Creek. Jason Michael, with the city's Water and Sewer Facilities Maintenance, says an explosion inside the plant caused the sewage to spill. "The damage was of such extent that the standby generators could not be immediately utilized to feed the plant," says Micheal.
However, he says, the problem was not caused by the plant's generators, but an electrical service cable. "It was definitely caused by the cable fault, and the explosion," he says.
City public works employees were able to stop the leak and repair the damage. New equipment was ordered in February, 2012. It was received on August 31st, Michael says. Replacement work began on September 3rd, and was completed on the 10th.
The total repair work was $378,000. A large amount of that was covered by the city's insurance carrier, according to city officials.
Michael says a number of measures have been put in place to prevent this from happening again. On the night of the spill, he says it took Potomac Edison more that two hours to respond to the plant, and turn off the power. "We were literally standing around doing nothing," he says. Michael says the city can now call a direct line to Potomac Edison when power goes out at the facility. "We've resolved that issue with them and now have a direct contact where we can call those people," he says. "When you call this number, you're getting a man whose sitting behind the wheel of all their equipment and speaking directly with crews in the field."
In addition to these measures, Michael says his office is planning to replace generating equipment, and will request the Board of Aldermen for money to hire a technician to inspect, maintain and service its generating engines. In addition, there are plans for annual inspections of the plant's five-kilovolt machinery.