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ESL Power Systems' Manual Transfer Switch Bolsters City’s Emergency Backup Power

Last updated Wednesday, May 30, 2012 16:53 ET

New manual transfer switch systems provide utility services with an easy, safe and affordable means of connection to emergency backup power generators.

Corona, USA, 05/30/2012 / SubmitMyPR /

The City of Gretna, Louisiana, has completed an engineered upgrade of the community’s water and sewer pumping station infrastructure putting in place a robust emergency backup power solution which utilizes the StormSwitch™ Manual Transfer Switch quick-connect system produced by ESL Power Systems (ESL).

When Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans region, the City of Gretna saw its potable water plant, wastewater treatment plant and network of fourteen sewer lift stations lose electrical power, bringing down the entire system.

Due to area flooding, wind damage and generator failures, 75% to 100% of the city’s water and sewer system was down for more than four days. In the hurricane’s aftermath, Mike Baudoin, Director of Public Utilities for the City of Gretna, determined that the power generator systems for both the wastewater plant and the lift stations were aged and required major upgrades.

Utilizing a $1.8 million Mitigation Funding Block Grant through the State of Louisiana and FEMA, the City of Gretna contracted engineering firm Burk-Kleinpeter to upgrade the pump stations, including designing a cost-effective emergency backup electrical power solution that could be easily managed by the Public Utilities staff.

Project deliverables included significant improvements and upgrades to the electrical infrastructure for the wastewater treatment plant, and adding redundant power at the primary lift station facilities. Because of the City of Gretna’s limited resources and very small staff the engineering team decided on quick-connect portable generators which eliminates the cost of permanently installed generators.

A critical design choice was adding ESL’s StormSwitch™ Manual Transfer Switch to eleven sewer lift station pump sites and to the raw water intake location. The off-the-shelf StormSwitch™ Manual Power Transfer Switch was selected because of its quick-connect design. The StormSwitch units are very cost-effective, and are shipped pre-wired for very quick installation. Once the system has been installed by a certified electrician, non-electrician employees easily manage fool-proof operation with very little training.

According to Bart Mullis, Associate-Electrical Engineer for Burk-Kleinpeter, the ESL product provided an ideal off-the-shelf solution while eliminating the added costs for a custom-engineered system. “The StormSwitch unit allows City of Gretna workers to easily add emergency generator backup power to numerous pumping system locations needing different amperages, while at the same time meeting the UL1008 standard with a robust NEMA-3R-rated enclosure and complying with National Electrical Code® Article 702 requirements for optional standby systems,” said Mullis.

Costing only a fraction of the cost for a permanent onsite back-up power generator system, ESL’s StormSwitch™ makes the use of portable back-up power generators a cost-effective solution for water/wastewater facilities that want to mitigate long-term power outages caused by natural disasters.