- September 28, 2016
- Posted by: Bree Thomas
- Category: Municipal Partner, Operations, Public Works
RICHMOND HILL, GA – Hurricane Hermine made landfall earlier this month with the promise of damaging winds, heavy rain, and threats of tornadoes throughout the low country. As residents in the City of Richmond Hill prepared their homes and businesses for what was predicted to be a Category 1 hurricane, their public works partner, EOM Operations, were well in to a week’s worth of preparations.
As a public works provider, any natural disaster that could halt service to customers is always an immense concern. With hurricane season underway, there are numerous elements that pose a threat to a city’s infrastructure and service delivery; with the most prevalent being wind, flooding, fallen limbs, and power outages. The top concern in Richmond Hill is the disruption of power at any number of facilities from water wells, wastewater lift stations, all the way to the wastewater treatment plant.
So how does a city prepare for these natural disasters? Charles Heino, Director of Municipal Operations for EOM Operations; “Our team’s number one priority is to minimize or eliminate loss of service to citizens we serve. Our team mitigated potential hazards by having adequate back up power alternatives, scheduled additional drainage route maintenance, and had an aggressive disaster plan in place.”
During the storm, the city did in fact experience power failures at various lift station sites responsible for moving wastewater through town, a water supply well, and the wastewater treatment facility. For approximately 30 hours the city experienced some level of power outage however during that time, there was never a loss of water or sewer service to customers due to the quick mobilization of backup power systems.
Mr. Heino also stated that having a cohesive qualified team in place locally plays a key role in successful operations. “Our Streets Department, led by Julius Scriven and Kirk Stidams, along with our C&D Department, led by Johnny Walker, all worked tirelessly with numerous departments within Richmond Hill to clear roads, block roads, and provide general support while still maneuvering pumps and generators to various sites. These particular employees stayed throughout the night to make sure the community had regular service until traditional power was restored the following day. This is the type of team dedication we encourage within our corporate culture.”
After the storm passed, the City of Richmond Hill and EOM Operations, had time to survey the damage, review all check points, and gather feedback. During a recent council meeting, various departments recognized the efforts and superior service of the EOM Operations team.
Police Captain Jason Sakelarios voiced his satisfaction when the floor was open for comments; “For a town this size, to get the rapid response and service received is exemplary. The EOM Operations staff not only performed their duties, but worked with our Police Department ahead of time to address concerns with the potential loss of power. We were able to free up our officers and allow them to focus on emergency response efforts because of their proactive disaster plan.”
City Manager, Chris Lovell closed the meeting with the following remarks; “I’d like to recognize the team at EOM Operations for not only performing the job we contract them to do for our citizens, but for surpassing expectations. The team worked proactively to prepare our city, our most vulnerable neighborhoods, and our infrastructure mitigating the loss of service to our city. Reviewing the surrounding areas, there were other neighboring city’s that unfortunately experienced loss of service. We are fortunate to stand here today and say that because of EOM Operations, we were able to operate as normal even under the most vulnerable of environments.”