Florida Rural Water and Tropical Storm Elsa Response
Tropical Storm Elsa first impacted the Keys of Florida and then scrapped along the western peninsula on the Gulf Coast. Before making landfall, the Tropical Storm shifted to hurricane level and then resumed its tropical storm status. As it made landfall, winds stayed mainly below 60 MPH with a large amount of rain across most of the Florida peninsula.
Florida Rural Water Association Executive Director Gary Williams stated, “Flooding and inundation caused some wastewater overflows from not being able to pump all the water but not from loss of power or pumping ability. The good news was that we didn’t have any requests during or after the storm for resources like generators or bypass pumps. We had a few requests prior to the storm for resources when some system’s back up power sources weren’t functioning properly.”
Florida continues to improve and develop their Emergency Response Tracking program called Water Tracker. It performed well in this event with many folks reporting operational status as fully or partially operational—using bypass or extra equipment for excess water issues.
Williams followed up stating, “We are going to need to expand remote server cores to speed up the platform when thousands are in the systems at the same time. It is very hard to test that outside of an event.”
Florida Rural Water Association was very proud of the Florida water industry affected by Elsa; for the preparedness steps and resiliency shown in this event. Storm preparedness, resiliency, sustainability, contingency plans and back up resources have been embraced and implemented in most Florida systems over the years. Rural Water has been a prominent leader, providing a lot of training and resources over the years to ensure water continues to flow and wastewater treated in abnormal events.
FRWA, Florida Water Utilities and Industry will continue to improve resiliency and preparedness for other abnormal events.