Prioritizing our community's health and safety requires CMSD to continuously plan and prepare for natural and/or manmade disasters such as earthquakes, flooding, power outages, fires and sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs). In the past decade, CMSD has taken the following proactive measures for emergency preparedness:
1. Securing Above Ground Electrical Enclosures
Electrical and control cabinets provide the necessary power and operations for sewer lift stations. If control cabinets were to tip over during an earthquake, power would be lost and wastewater pumps may become inoperable. Eventually, the sewer system would overflow with wastewater causing potential harm to the public and the environment. To avoid this hazard, CMSD replaced cabinets that were corroded at the base with stainless steel cabinets and properly anchored all cabinets with bolts and fasteners to prevent them from tipping over.
2. Obtaining Emergency Equipment
Power is essential for the operation of lift stations. If power is suddenly lost, time is of the essence to provide backup power before an SSO occurs. CMSD has spent over $1 million to procure and install permanent emergency equipment, such as by-pass pumps and permanent generators, at all its critical lift stations. In addition to permanent generators, CMSD has also acquired enough mobile generators to provide backup power to every lift station that may require it. This will allow CMSD to be self-reliant in the event of a regional disaster.
3. Ductile Iron Pipe Assessment & Project
A small percentage of CMSD's sewer system is ductile iron pipe (DIP), which is made of spheroidized graphite cast iron that is susceptible to corrosion and brittle characteristics. If the DIP is corroded and brittle, seismic movement can cause structural failure. CMSD has assessed the condition of its DIP and is relining and/or replacing existing DIP.
4. Inflow Reduction Program
When streets flood, excess water flows into sewer pipes through holes in manhole covers. The additional water in the system can inundate Orange County Sanitation District's treatment plants and cause backflow and SSOs. To prevent this, CMSD plugs and seals many of its manhole covers. Plugging manholes prevents water from entering its holes, while sealing the cover prevents it from being removed.
5. Emergency Operation Center (EOC)
CMSD has the necessary equipment, supplies, and forms to operate an EOC at its headquarters and its Corporate Yard. Both locations have generators to supply backup power in case of power outages.
Additionally, CMSD utilizes an Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) that follows standard emergency management practices such as the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) and the National Incident Management System (NIMS).
CMSD is a member of the Water Emergency Response Organization of Orange County (WEROC) and the California Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (CalWARN). Both organizations coordinate and support effective emergency responses and mutual aid efforts among local and regional water and wastewater agencies.