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After discussing it for years, the Lebanon Water Company has purchased a generator capable of running its water treatment plant in Calvary.
The generator is not like anything available at a local hardware store. The Cummins 500kw generator has an 850-gallon tank, and it cost $444,000, according to John L. Thomas, the water company superintendent.
“This is a big boy,” he said.
It’s also been installed on an elevated platform.
“We built it purposely to be one foot higher than the May 2010 flood,” Thomas said.
The flood might have influenced where the generator was located, but the 2009 ice storm is what got the water board thinking about getting one in the first place.
Thomas said the board had been hoping to find some grant funding to help cover the cost of purchasing such as large piece of machinery, but given the state of the economy in recent years, grant funding has not been available.
With that in mind, the water company decided to bite the bullet and purchase the generator with its own funds.
“We felt it was important to get,” Thomas said.
In the event electrical service is knocked out, the generator would be able to power the treatment plant and the pumps that send water to Lebanon.
Based on the electrical needs of the treatment plant, the generator would need to run at half-power. At that level, the generator would burn around 19 gallons per hour, which means it could run for about 45 hours before needing more fuel.
Thomas explained that the treatment plant operates for 15-16 hours on a typical day, which means the generator could run the plant for about three days on a full tank.
Thomas added that the treatment plant has been a priority for Kentucky Utilities whenever the electricity has gone out, but the water company wanted a way to maintain a clean water supply in case of a massive event — like the ice storm — that could affect the utility company’s ability to get to them.