Water issues at Ft Hood (Spidey senses tingling)

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g-man
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Water issues at Ft Hood (Spidey senses tingling)

Post by g-man »

Okay, I understand we're a bit more 'connect-the-dots' than the average crowd, but follow me here:

On Saturday the 7th, the 48-inch water main feeding Ft Hood breaks. Nothing weird yet, as they've been experiencing issues with this section of pipe for a while. All local area laundromats, car washes, and other water-intensive businesses are shut down to conserve water pressure.

On Sunday the 8th, power goes out at the Belton Water Treatment Plant, (article also contains later updates). This precipitates a boil water notice for all of the affected water district, followed by a decision by the city to cut water until flow and pressure are restored, in order to conserve what is in storage for firefighting. This includes the warning to turn off hot water heaters so the elements don't burn up if the flow stops and they aren't being refilled.

This morning it appears we've had pressure restored, as the taps in the house are running normally (they dropped off significantly when the water flow was cut), but we'll be on a boil water notice for an indeterminate period of time...


Thoughts:

The 48-inch main break was mostly "Really?!?" moment just because we've had more water problems here than any other place we've lived, but when it was followed closely by the treatment plant losing power, my weird-shit-o-meter alarm bells went off. It's not quite to the level of 'random food production facilities are all catching fire near-simultaneously' stuff going on elsewhere in the country, but the sequence of events was too tightly spaced for it to not start the wheels turning. Given the Heights' history with not having enough water for firefighting (see snowmageddon towering inferno events in Feb '21), it makes sense that they were a bit trigger-happy in shutting down all the water. Just kept waiting for the 3rd event (once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action...) with regard to water delivery to really get the hair on the back of my neck up.

Lots of people will see this as an inconvenience, and will do dumb stuff like forgetting to turn off their sprinklers (we drove past one property with the lawn being piddled on because they were on, but there was nearly no pressure). It made me run through the "Do I have enough water on hand?" drill, since we're pretty well set with filtration and a turkey fryer setup to boil water for the dogs in 5-gallon batches. But I hadn't considered the water just straight-up going OFF with that sort of alarming speed. We've got more than a week's worth of bottled water on hand, but that doesn't account for the dogs, which I had planned to be able to boil water for. We have added ~180gal of rainwater barrels, which would last a good while, but between the birds and the garden, I can't really count on that for more extended periods.
Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum
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randy
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Re: Water issues at Ft Hood (Spidey senses tingling)

Post by randy »

When I worked in a local EMA, we were suggesting (as strongly as possible given the jurisdiction politics) that the local water authorities get generators able to run their waste treatment and pumping stations. But that costs money and apparently it's not considered a high priority compared to day to day ops.
...even before I read MHI, my response to seeing a poster for the stars of the latest Twilight movies was "I see 2 targets and a collaborator".
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blackeagle603
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Re: Water issues at Ft Hood (Spidey senses tingling)

Post by blackeagle603 »

yeah, one of those "2 is 1, 1 is none" moments to remind us to check our preps to-do list.

<checks preps to-do list, bangs head on table>

At our San Diego property I've been meaning to add a tank for municipal water backup for a few years now. Need to get off my duff and get a tank.
At least genset and gird disconnect is good to go and tested out finally.

Feeling better about our Texas property and the 6000 gal reservoir our well feeds. <nevermind the eyesore it is>.
Need to get backup power though.
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BDK
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Re: Water issues at Ft Hood (Spidey senses tingling)

Post by BDK »

That can also be a sign of municipal mismanagement than malice.

When I was a kid, Belton was not a well-run town. (But, compared to German farm towns, few are.)
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g-man
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Re: Water issues at Ft Hood (Spidey senses tingling)

Post by g-man »

Every place we've been has had its own particular flavor of utility suckage...

Hawaii - Power was exorbitantly expensive (and partially generated by burning the trash you also had to pay them to haul off...), and traffic control was abysmal.

VA (DC area) - We lost power there a ridiculous number of times in the 3 years I was stationed there

CA (Bay area) - Water was never a problem, mostly because they had literally just built a brand new treatment plant, the bond for which comprised a large portion of our water/sewer bill. But the roads sucked and fire season was a thing, because of horrible mismanagement.

Here - We don't lose power, but they're hair-trigger on water management, with lots and lots of testing every time anything happens with the system. It's not just Belton, but Killeen, Heights, and the rest of Bell County as well. Don't know the history, but suspect someone royally screwed the pooch somewhere in TX, so the regulations were then overbuilt, while the local systems haven't kept pace with the population growth, so they're underbuilt. Just my thoughts.


M-I-L asked about a 'solar generator' (read: battery + inverter) setup that one of the 'patriotic prepper' sites is hawking, and I was quickly able to point her toward multiple other options with better capacity at ~40-50% lower prices. We've got a Honda EU3000is for boondock camping that would cover all the A/C and fridge /freezer needs, but I could probably do with getting more stored fuel into a rotation so I've got a larger stash on hand. Also wouldn't be a bad idea to grab one of the 2000w Predator gensets from Harbor Freight, since they're light (I can load the Honda solo, but SWMBO most definitely can't), and 2 is 1 and 1 is none and all that.
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HTRN
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Re: Water issues at Ft Hood (Spidey senses tingling)

Post by HTRN »

I would buy another Honda, the same size, as I believe it's an inverter generator, and parallel capable
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BDK
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Re: Water issues at Ft Hood (Spidey senses tingling)

Post by BDK »

So our co-op is, essentially, installing panels to meet increasing demand. (They offer minimal interest loans to finance it, based on how much demand load there is in the summer - solar’s pretty much an ideal case for this, since max generation coincides with max demand)

However, the farm is very power dependent. We have a fireplace and wood, but everything else needs power.

I like the idea of a battery bank system, as I think it would allow a smaller generator, as well as using solar/wind to charge up.

(I really want to find good vertical turbines, but that’s because I can use them as a wind break as much as for power.
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HTRN
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Re: Water issues at Ft Hood (Spidey senses tingling)

Post by HTRN »

BDK wrote: Mon May 16, 2022 5:26 pm I like the idea of a battery bank system, as I think it would allow a smaller generator, as well as using solar/wind to charge up.
You might want to look at "Edison" batteries(Nickel Iron) They have poor energy density, and lousy charge holding, and aren't cheap..BUT they're incredibly tolerant of abuse, and have a working life measured in decades. If you have room and $$$, and are installing in a system where they're topped up daily(like solar), they make alot of sense - basically install and forget about them, besides checking electrolyte levels every six months. They're about ideal for a solar standby system, and lousy for everything else
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Rustyv
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Re: Water issues at Ft Hood (Spidey senses tingling)

Post by Rustyv »

I do this stuff for work (on a small scale). Think cell sites in the boonies with no access to the grid.

Any battery type you can buy at the hardware or auto parts store sucks for solar. AGM, VRLA, or any other kind of lead acid will have a lifespan measured in months. A good one, like a gel cell lead acid, in a bank 10x the expected draw down might make it for a 5-7 years, if it’s well maintained including keeping it cool.

I’ve heard of nickle-iron, but never used it because of the power density. Lithium ion can be done, but for me is a no go, because you have to keep it cool. Air conditioners are a huge load on the battery bank.

Most exciting thing I’ve seen recently is a capacitor array. Essentially a giant pile of caps soldered together in an array until you get to 40 or 50Ah of capacity. Stupid expensive, but they’ll live forever, and will take any kind of abuse you can throw at them. I’m seeing specs like 100% discharge 4 times a day for 30 years, at any temp between -30F and 155F.

But, stupid expensive, hard to get, and your inverter has to fit the batteries.
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HTRN
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Re: Water issues at Ft Hood (Spidey senses tingling)

Post by HTRN »

Rustyv wrote: Tue May 17, 2022 11:44 am I’ve heard of nickle-iron, but never used it because of the power density.
https://ironedison.com/product-category ... ckel-iron/
HTRN, I would tell you that you are an evil fucker, but you probably get that a lot ~ Netpackrat

Describing what HTRN does as "antics" is like describing the wreck of the Titanic as "a minor boating incident" ~ First Shirt
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