Oakland, October 8, 2019
EBMUD preparing for power shutoffs
Water agency staging emergency equipment to maintain reliable water delivery
OAKLAND —East Bay Municipal Utility District is staging portable generators and pumps at critical facilities in preparation for preemptive power outages PG&E is planning to initiate during high fire risk periods. The emergency equipment, in place from August through November, is necessary to maintain reliable water service to East Bay communities and emergency responders during these outages.
Pumping plants are important links in the water distribution system because they convey water to neighborhood water tanks for daily use. EBMUD’s water and wastewater treatment plants and some pumping plants have built-in backup power. Because a preemptive power outage, called a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS), can affect pumping plants without backup power, 29 emergency back-up generators are being placed in Berkeley, Castro Valley, Crockett, Danville, Moraga, Oakland, Orinda, Pinole and San Ramon.
“While we can’t predict what will happen this fire season, we can – and must – prepare our facilities to fulfill our duty to customers,” said EBMUD Board President Marguerite Young. “What we do now will save critical response time should we lose power.”
Staging equipment in advance of a power outage allows EBMUD to maintain necessary storage levels in neighborhood water tanks. This ensures water is available for firefighting and prevents depressurization of water pipelines. Neighbors near emergency equipment locations may see the emergency equipment beginning in August. The equipment will be operated only during a PSPS event; however residents may hear the equipment running during testing.
“We are doing all we can to maintain sufficient water and water pressure during these proactive power shutdowns,” said General Manager Alex Coate. “During these outages, we will need public cooperation to ensure we maintain critical water supplies.”
During a PSPS event, affected EBMUD customers should minimize water use by turning off irrigation and reducing outdoor and indoor water use. EBMUD always recommends customers store a minimum of two gallons of water per person per day, plus pets, for three to seven days. If customers have household backup generators, they should be tested to ensure they operate safely.
EBMUD asks customers to check for PSPS updates on ebmud.com, and follow us @ebmud on Twitter, Nextdoor and Facebook. For more information on PSPS, please visit pge.com/wildfiresafety. For water emergencies, please call EBMUD at 1-866-403-2683.