COLUMBIA, Miss. – A damaging tornado swept through the City of Columbia, Miss. On Dec. 23, 2014. Without power, the city was able to operate with an auxiliary generator for a short time. The storm damaged the city’s sewage lagoons and created a large leak in the drinking water system. Around 2:45 on the morning of Christmas Eve the generator failed, leaving the system with about two hours of water.
Michael McDaniel quickly called for the assistance of the Mississippi Rural Water Association. It was critical that the system not lose pressure, since the system supported a hospital and a nursing home. If the utility lost pressure, the entire system would have to be disinfected.
MsRWA Executive Director Kirby Mayfield, Circuit Rider Charles Odom and Wastewater Technician James Benefield delivered a 150 Kw generator to the treatment plant. They had the generator on-site by 4:40 and the utility resumed pumping before the water supply was exhausted.
With power restored, the rural water staff began assisting McDaniel with repair the storm damage. Odom helped the city locate and isolate two major water leaks in the distribution, improving pressure. Benefield worked to bring the lagoons back on-line.
By Dec. 24 the power was restored and the generator was being relocated.