Power Plant surges back after shutdown
When the water exceeded the 1993 levels, we started taking water into the steam tunnels, which are connected to the Power Plant—that’s how we distribute the steam, through pipes in the steam tunnels. It was uncontrolled flooding. It was coming faster than we could pump or sandbag the water, and it became evident that we needed to shut the Power Plant down. This was a different experience than 1993, where we were able to control the water coming in.
The plant flooded 21 feet of water in the basement, so the entire campus—east and west side—lost steam. All the electrical wiring and components that were in the basement had to be replaced because of water damage. It involved 42 miles of wire being replaced, four miles of insulation, and about 100 instruments and control valves that were necessary to operate the facility.
It took 16 weeks, from the time we flooded until President Mason came down one lunch and blew the steam plant whistle. That was our declaration that we were fully back in service with all of our boilers operational.
From the flood we’ve gained a much more complete understanding of our electric system, its compliance with code, but basically it’s also the cleanest it’s probably ever been since the plant was built back in the 1920s. We also replaced the lighting system in the basement, which was totally destroyed, and we’ve used a modern, energy-efficient lighting system that helps see the cleanliness. I’m an old Navy guy, and you gotta see dirt to clean dirt, and this is letting us do that very effectively.
For the long term, we really need to look at siting another facility on the west campus that will utilize renewable energy.
Here is a link to the slideshow audio file.
View of the dam west of the Power Plant. Flood waters are very high.
Sandbags around duct on the west side of the Iowa River just north of the Stanley Hydraulic Laboratory.
Photo from the west side of the Iowa River looking back at the Burlington Street bridge and the Power Plant.
Cars drive through floodwater north of the Power Plant. Photo shows sandbag wall surrounding the Power Plant.
Worker shows high water mark on large pipe on exterior of Power Plant near the dam.
View of the words "Power Plant" etched in stone above the door to the building.
View looking down at worker checking electrical wiring panel in the Power Plant.
Another view of worker checking control panel.
View of giant steam pipes inside of the Power Plant.
Worker checks a gauge on Power Plant machinery.
View of pipes wrapped in insulation inside Power Plant.
Worker uses wrench to adjust machinery as another worker looks on.
Worker uses knife to cut insulation material.
Worker using propane torch to seal pipe.
View of Power Plant pipes and circuit box.
Rolls of insulation material.
Worker bends a piece of pipe.
Worker welds in the Power Plant.
Worker straddles pipe to make repairs to a pipe above.
Control valves on pipes.
Large guage showing "0" on a scale from 0 to 1000.
Workers standing behind a pipe, conferring about a small piece of equipment that one of them is holding.
Worker in the Power Plant.
Massive pipes and ductwork.
Worker makes adjustments at electrical panel.
Worker welds in the Power Plant.
Giant pipes illuminated by a single hanging lightbulb.
President Mason, wearing safety glasses and hard hat, pushes the button to blow the noon whistle as workers look on.
President Mason gives the "thumbs up" sign as workers applaud.
President Mason and worker look in furnace.
Links to other slideshow transcript/gallery pages: