GATESVILLE — After a power failure at Belton Lake caused a water outage last fall, the city beefed up its water system with used backup power generators purchased at a bargain price from Federal Emergency Management Agency, City Manager Roger Mumby said.
About 20,000 water customers in Gatesville, Coryell City, Flat, The Grove, South Mountain and Fort Gates are on the system affected by the Oct. 27 power outage.
“I had to rent a backup generator, but never got it in place before the power was restored,” Mumby said.
The portable 2400-kilowatt generator arrived from Houston the day after the outage just as Oncor was restoring power.
The shutdown put the city in the market for three backup generators, Mumby said, “but at about $600,000 for all three, we couldn’t afford them.”
City staff found the used FEMA generators in San Antonio for $30,000 each. Mumby bought two and hopes to add a third when one becomes available.
Because the generators produce more power than the city equipment requires, the generators will have to be stepped down for the system, he said.
In addition to providing backup power to the intake structure at Belton Lake, the city will place generators at a water-treatment facility on Owl Creek Road and a booster pump station in Flat.
“When the smoke clears, we will have backup power at the three sites for about $250,000,” Mumby said.
About 200 commercial and residential customers and four of the six state prison units in Gatesville lost water pressure because of the power outage. As a precaution, the city alerted all water users on the system that water pressure would be cut off for as long as 48 hours.
A water-conservation mandate was imposed, prompting restaurants to close, shoppers to stock up on bottled water and portable toilets to be set up outside county buildings.