FAA approves plan for Nehls water tower

NEW ULM – The New Ulm Public Utilities Commission (PUC) received a report on the status of the Nehls Park water tower project on Tuesday during a meeting at City Hall.

The report stated that plans for the tower have met Federal Aviation Administration regulations for clearance with the local airport. This approval allows the project to begin construction in the next few weeks.

Power outage

The PUC also received a report on the Saturday, April 13, power failure at the Center Street Substation. The outage affected approximately 2,600 customers, and power was restored in 15 minutes.

A metal bus bar conductor in the Substation, which functions similar to power cords but is able to handle much larger loads of electricity, failed when the apoxy and insulation deteriorated enough to allow an arc of electricity. The sheer volume of electricity released by the arc vaporized and damaged the area around the bar. Power failure involving bus bars is uncommon, according to a Public Utilities official.

Power was quickly rerouted to supply customers due to New Ulm’s built-in redundancy system.

In the coming days, Public Utility workers will replace and re-insulate the affected area. They will then test a heavy energy load to determine if there are any other failures in the system. New Ulm customers will not be affected by the test. If no problems are detected, the PUC will not take any further actions on the Substation. If more problems are encounters, the PUC will review the Substation.

Waster Water Treatment Plant

Finally, the PUC received a report on the New Ulm Waste Water Treatment Plant Blower and Aeration Improvement Project. The project is intended to replace parts of the system, like lower motors and diffusers, to help save the PUC around 1 million KwH of electricity each year. The project will cost $1.344 million, and the anticipated payback period is 12 years.

(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at jmoniz@nujournal.com)

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